The Latest: Report: German parties near coalition deal

The Latest on negotiations to form a new German government (all times local):

10 a.m.

German news agency dpa is reporting that the prospective partners in a new German government have taken an important step toward reaching a coalition agreement.

Wednesday's report, which cited unnamed participants, said that Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, its Bavaria-only sister party, the Christian Social Union, and the center-left Social Democrats, achieved a breakthrough on the division of ministries.

It said that, following an all-night session, the three parties still have to work through a relatively short list of disagreements before reaching a final agreement.

Any agreement will be submitted to a ballot of the Social Democrats' members, a process that will take a few weeks.


7:20 a.m.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and Germany's main center-left party are still haggling over a deal to form a new coalition government after negotiations that lasted through the night.

There was no sign of an imminent end to talks between Merkel's Union bloc and the Social Democrats early Wednesday, some 21 hours into what party leaders have said should be the final round of negotiations.

If a deal emerges, it won't bring an immediate end to the political limbo following Germany's Sept. 24 election.

Any agreement will be put to a ballot of the Social Democrats' more than 460,000 members. Many of them are skeptical after the party's disastrous election result, which followed four years of a "grand coalition" with the party serving as junior partner to Merkel's conservatives.