>> Delegates from Germany's Social Democratic Party vote on Sunday on whether their party's leaders should press ahead with fully fledged negotiations with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Conservatives on forming a new coalition government. Here in Berlin, I'm chief correspondent Paul Carroll. Some 600 delegates from the SPD will vote on Sunday.
It's very simple, really. If they vote yes, the party leadership can press ahead with the negotiations after already last week concluding a preliminary deal. If they vote no, we're in uncharted territory. And there are really two scenarios that follow from there, either a minority government, probably led by Angela Merkel or new elections.
>> Thank you.>> The possibility of new elections has focused minds in Merkel's Christian Democrats, the CDU, on their future, and indeed, who leads the party. From conversations we've had with members of the CDU, we've learned that a small minority, In the event of new elections, would actually like Merkel to stand down.
They're frustrated with a loss of support that the party experienced in the elections last September. That was largely due to the refugee crisis. They blame her for her handling of that and for the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany party. Merkel has In her more than 12 years as chancellor been very good at seeing off any challenges within her own party.
There's no risk right now of a putsch, there's no one really who has the standing to do that, and she is still quite popular within the party. However, what we do see is some kind of potential contenders to succeed her, circling, trying to build their profiles. Merkel's been seen as an an anchor of stability Europe, and so whoever replaces her got a big job on their hands.
Hence, this early thinking inside her CDU for an orderly transition over time, such that when a replacement does arrive they're ready to go and take over comfortably.