Merkel's fourth term in doubt as coalition talks collapse

In a separate interview with broadcaster ZDF, Merkel said she is "skeptical" about such a government."Germany needs a stable government that doesn't need to search for a majority for every decision", she said.Merkel also said she was still prepared to serve as chancellor for another four years, assuming a viable coalition can be formed.

Speaking after their meeting, Steinmeier described the situation as unprecedented in postwar Germany and urged the country's parties to work together to try to form a government.

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Whether Germany chooses to have another election in the New Year or it's first minority government since WW2, this could signal end of Mrs Merkel's tenure. Martin Schulz, the leader of the Social Democrats - the second largest party in parliament after Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) - described new elections as "the right path" earlier Monday.

She added: "We should talk about how we form a process that leads our country into a new, stable government".

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There's more political upheaval in Germany, where talks on forming a coalition government have collapsed. Merkel said today that she will remain as acting chancellor and consult with Steinmeier on how best to move forward. But the plan fell apart when the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) walked out of talks shortly before midnight on Sunday over disagreements on issues ranging from energy policy to migration.

Mr Steinmeier said: 'There would be incomprehension and great concern inside and outside our country, and particularly in our European neighbourhood, if the political forces in the biggest and economically strongest country in Europe of all places did not fulfil their responsibility'.

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Mrs Merkel said her conservatives had left "nothing untried to find a solution". "As Chancellor, I will do everything to ensure that this country is well managed in the hard weeks to come".

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