Negotiators from the country’s biggest parties hope to strike a coalition deal in the coming days. But the conservatives and the center-left Social Democrats are still far apart on several key issues.
After Angela Merkel pledged to retire as the head of her CDU party, Horst Seehofer has confirmed he will also step down as leader of Bavaria's CSU. However, he intends to remain Germany's interior minister for now.
Both Angela Merkel's CDU and her center-left coalition partner, the SPD, are holding crisis meetings as they try to chart a new course. Urgent voices on each side could drag the parties away from the political center.
Sources close to Interior Minister Horst Seehofer have told a respected German newspaper that he plans to resign. Seehofer's spokesperson has denied the reports.
Angela Merkel's immediate task is to organize the contest over who will be her successor as leader of the CDU. Whoever it turns out to be could well pull the party away from the political center — wherever that is.
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