Germany's Merkel pledges for quick move toward new coalition

Chancellor Angela Merkel is pushing for the quick formation of a new governing alliance with Germany's main center-left party, saying that only a coalition will bring the "stable government" needed at a challenging time for Europe.

Merkel's conservative Union bloc and the center-left Social Democrats will begin discussions Wednesday on a possible extension of their coalition of the past four years. The Social Democrats insisted after a disastrous election result in September that they would go into opposition, but reluctantly agreed to reconsider after Merkel's coalition talks with two smaller parties collapsed.

Merkel said Monday: "I favor quick talks, and I think a stable government is the basis on which we can work best with France and for Europe."

She said a minority government "would not be a stable government."