Germany’s Social Democrats have dropped their hard refusal to consider a new coalition with Angela Merkel’s conservatives, German media reported Friday.
In a meeting that lasted through most of the night, party leaders decided to help resolve an impasse that has left Germany without a clear coalition option for the first time in its post-war history.
“The SPD is deeply convinced there should be discussions,” Hubertus Heil, the party’s general secretary, told reporters after the marathon session Friday. “The SPD will not refuse to talk.”
The party’s leadership previously refused to entertain the possibility of another “grand coalition” with the conservatives. SPD leader Martin Schulz reiterated that position on Monday after talks to form a three-way government between the conservatives, liberals and Greens collapsed.
Since then, he has come under intense pressure from both inside and outside the SPD to reconsider in order to avoid a new election.
Heil denied reports that Schulz had come under pressure to resign.
In addition to joining another coalition, he said the SPD could agree to “tolerate” a Merkel-led minority government from the opposition, an option gaining currency in Berlin.