German Social Democrats mull talks on new Merkel government

Germany's center-left Social Democrats are discussing whether to open talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives on extending their governing coalition, or at least backing a minority government.

The Social Democrats' leadership insisted the party would go into opposition after a disastrous election result in September. It reinforced its refusal to join a new coalition after Merkel's talks with two smaller parties collapsed last month.

However, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier made clear that he doesn't want a new election, and Social Democrat leader Martin Schulz reversed course.

At a previously scheduled party congress Thursday, Schulz is seeking members' approval for a resolution approving talks on "whether and in what form" the Social Democrats can support a new government. But some members want to specifically rule out another coalition.