German parties meet to sound out red lines for coalition

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is meeting members of three smaller political parties to sound out their red lines before formal talks on forging a coalition government.

Merkel's Christian Democratic Union and its Bavaria-only sister party the Christian Social Union took about a third of the vote in September's general election — not enough to govern alone.

Because the center-left Social Democrats have said they're not interested in continuing the current "grand coalition" with Merkel, her Union bloc is holding separate talks Wednesday with the free-market FDP and the environmentalist Greens.

Such a coalition, dubbed "Jamaica" because the parties' colors match that of the Caribbean nation's flag, hasn't been tested at the national level before.

All four parties are expected to meet together for the first time Friday.