German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been meeting with leaders of the Greens and the Free Democrats (FDP) parties to discuss a way forward, following the collapse of German coalition talks.
In the next few days, he will also speak to Christian Social Union and Social Democrats leaders.
Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble has called on the parties to compromise.
“What it takes is understanding of the difficult balancing act, for all who carry a political responsibility to move away partially from their own party’s program in order to achieve compromises with a majority appeal. This does not mean backing down or showking weakness. “ he said.
With the FDP still against the Jamaica coalition, the pressure is growing on the SPD – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s partners in the outgoing government – who say they will not budge from their refusal to enter a new administration with her.
If that stands, a minority government or a new election are the only options.
It’s thought Steinmeier will probably urge Martin Schulz, head of the SPD, to accept a new large coalition.
The situation is a disaster for Merkel with many saying that the chancellor is mostly to blame for the paralysis.
A snap poll on Monday indicated a broadly similar outcome to the September vote, with only the Greens profiting from the events of the last month.
With new elections looking increasingly likely, the prospects for a meaningful leap forward in European cooperation look dimmer than ever.