>> German coalition talks finally get underway on Wednesday but it won't be easy to strike a deal. In Berlin, I'm Reuter's correspondent Paul Carroll. Merkel is trying to form a three-way coalition between her own conservative block, the liberal pro-business Free Democrats and the Environmentalists Greens. This combination is untested at national level, and it's sometimes called the Jamaica Coalition, that's because the three parties colors match the national flag of Jamaica.
It's gonna be very difficult to forge a deal. There are major policy differences between the three groups on immigration, on European Union reform, on tax, on the environment, and Merkel has in fact said that her conservatives will need to compromise. She also says she expects a coalition deal to be agreed by Christmas, but some other senior politicians says it could take longer, it could take until January.
Merkel is having to pursue this untested at national level three way combination because her previous coalition partners, the Social Democrats suffered heavy losses in the election and are now determined to go into opposition. If there's no deal on a three-way alliance, Merkel could go back to the Social Democrats and try to form another grand coalition.
The Social Democrats, however, insist they want to remain in opposition, go into opposition, so if that doesn't working out, Merkel could either try to rule with a minority government or else call fresh elections. However that scenario would be unprecedented.>>