German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for coalition talks at the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) headquarters in Berlin, Germany, February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
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Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the center-left Social Democrats embark on a final round of talks Tuesday to seal a coalition deal and end months of political limbo in Europe's top economy.After marathon talks Monday, negotiators from Merkel's CDU party, her Bavarian CSU ally and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) will reconvene in Berlin at 10:00 am for one last push to clinch an agreement on a renewed "grand coalition" or "GroKo". Julia Kloeckner, deputy leader of Merkel's CDU party, said she expected talks to once again run into the night Tuesday, meaning it could take until Wednesday for a coalition treaty to be formally presented.After at first ruling out another four years in Merkel's shadow, SPD leader Martin Schulz backtracked -- a U-turn that angered many grassroots SPD supporters who had hoped to reinvent the party from the opposition benches.Support for the CDU/CSU fell from 33 to 30.5 percent in the Insa poll, while the SPD slumped from September's historic low of 20.5 percent to 17 percent -- leaving the "GroKo" hopefuls without a combined majority.
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