Germany: left-leaning parties explore common ground

Ninety lawmakers from left-leaning German parties are meeting to explore possibilities of working together in the future, something that could increase chances of a government without Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives.

The center-left Social Democrats, the Greens and Left Party govern one German state together but so far have been too deeply divided to join together nationally. The Left Party grew out of opposition to economic reforms conducted by a Social Democrat-led government and opposes military deployments abroad.

Tuesday's planned meeting doesn't involve the most senior lawmakers and concrete decisions aren't expected. But Left Party deputy caucus leader Jan Korte told ARD television it's important to show "there is an alternative" to Merkel, who currently governs with the Social Democrats as junior coalition partners.

A national election is due next year.