Leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Angela Merkel arrives at the Baden-Wuerttemberg State Representation office for exploratory talks about forming a new coalition government in Berlin, Germany, November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s efforts to form a three-way coalition government that would secure herself a fourth term hit a major setback after a would-be coalition partner unexpectedly pulled out of talks, thrusting Germany into a political crisis.
Merkel, whose conservatives were weakened after an election they won with a reduced number of seats, said on Monday shortly after the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) withdrew from the negotiations that she would inform the German president that she could not form a coalition.
The development left Germany with two unprecedented options in the post-World War Two era: Merkel forms a minority government with the Greens, or the president calls a new election after parties fail to form a government.
The center-left Social Democrats (SPD), Merkel’s current coalition partners who were the second-biggest party in the September election, have ruled out a repeat of a coalition with her conservatives.
“It …
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