Leading German conservative coalition talks will succeed

A leading German conservative said Tuesday he is confident the country's two biggest parties will succeed in forming a governing coalition, but he pressed Angela Merkel's claim to replace Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. A "grand coalition" of Schroeder's Social Democrats and Merkel's conservative bloc has emerged as the likeliest new government following Germany's Sept. 18 election, which denied both leaders a majority for their preferred alliances.

So far, however, prospects of a deal have been complicated by the insistence of both on being the next chancellor. The two sides have yet to agree to formal coalition negotiations but will meet Wednesday for a second round of exploratory talks, reports the AP.

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