Talks on forming a new German “grand coalition” with the Social Democrats (SPD) may not begin until next year, a top official in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s camp said. This could potentially prolong uncertainty in Europe’s largest economy.

Julia Kloeckner, vice-chair of Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), said talks may not commence until next year, Reuters said. The two biggest parties suffered punishing losses in the national election. 

“Thoroughness comes before speed,” Kloeckner told ARD television. “I expect talks to begin in the new year,” she said, adding a plea for the SPD not to set out red lines that might hinder talks before they start. The SPD earlier reversed its pledge to go into opposition and agreed to discuss supporting a Merkel government.

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