BERLIN: Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the opposition Social Democratic Party are holding preliminary talks on forming Germany's next government.
The two parties that make up the conservative Union bloc and the SPD are expected to discuss how much common ground there is to create a "grand coalition" like the one that governed Germany during Merkel's first term from 2005 to 2009.
SPD leaders said last week that they would consult the party's 470,000 members before agreeing to any deal.
Merkel's bloc won 41.5 percent of the vote in last month's national election but fell five seats short of a parliamentary majority. Her pro-business allies in the outgoing coalition, the Free Democrats, failed to win any seats. She could cut a deal with the environmentalist Greens but that's less likely.