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In final push for new govt, Merkel warns of ‘obstacles’

Berlin, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany’s top parties still had “big obstacles” to surmount before reaching a new coalition deal, ahead of a last-ditch round of negotiations today.
The veteran leader, who is battling to form a new government to salvage her political future, warned it would be a “tough day” of talks, which were expected to stretch well into the night.
She said her conservative Christian Democrats would “work constructively to find the necessary compromises but we are also aware that we need to execute the right policies for our country”.
September’s inconclusive elections left Merkel without a majority and struggling to find partners to govern Europe’s biggest economy.
After her earlier attempt at forging a coalition with two smaller parties collapsed, she is now pinning her hopes on renewing an alliance with the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD).
SPD leader Martin Schulz also spoke of “big obstacles” on the last day of preliminary talks in which the parties were sounding each other out over whether to move on to formal coalition negotiations.
He said his party wanted to ensure that the new government committed “above all to working towards renewal of the European Union”.
President Frank-Walter Steinmeier reminded all sides that they “have a responsibility towards Europe and for reliability, partnership and engagement in international politics”.
Merkel badly needs the talks to succeed, as do Schulz and the leader of her Bavarian allies, Horst Seehofer, said political analyst Karl-Rudolf Korte of Duisburg-Essen University.

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