Breakthrough in coalition talks

German conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats draw up a draft coalition agreement.

Durchbruch bei Sondierungen

Berlin (dpa) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats reached a breakthrough early Friday to begin official coalition talks.

After about 24 hours of talks, Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), her Bavarian-based allies in the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) agreed on a formal road to forming a so-called grand coalition government.

A new coalition government would see Merkel at the helm of Europe's biggest economy for a fourth term in office.

However, an SPD party conference set down for January 21 still has to approve holding the talks for a rerun of the Merkel-led coalition.