Reports: Breakthrough in German government coalition talks

Leaders of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Union bloc and the center-left Social Democrats have reportedly agreed on the basis to move ahead with coalition negotiations after marathon overnight talks.

The dpa news agency and other German media, citing talks participants, reported Friday that the party leaders were preparing to recommend formal coalition negotiations after hashing out compromises on wide-ranging issues.

The Social Democrats' leaders will still have to sell the coalition to their membership, and face much resistance. But if the talks had failed Merkel's only options remaining would have been to form a minority government or hold new elections.

The Social Democrats had initially ruled out another coalition with Merkel after poor results in the Sept. 24 election, but reconsidered after her talks with two other parties failed.