Germany’s outgoing chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has confirmed – albeit indirectly – he will play no role in the new government.
Speaking in Berlin, he said he would help in the negotiations on forming the coalition between his Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats.
It is unclear what Germany’s leader since 1998 intends to do next although the SPD has dismissed speculation he plans to work for Russian energy giant Gazprom.
Meanwhile, substantial doubts remain about the viability of the new red-black administration. To become chancellor, Angela Merkel needs the support of 308 of the 614 members of the lower house in a parliamentary vote.
As her conservatives have 226 seats, she needs a further 82 supporters from the SPD.