FIRST AIRED: January 26, 2018

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>> It's the final straight in Germany with Chancellor Angela Merkel promising a swift end to a four month political limbo. On Friday she began formal talks with a revival of a so-called grand coalition with the social democratic party. While many experts believe talks will be a success, as Reuters Thomas Escritt explains, some SPD members see a repeat coalition as a painful sacrifice.
>> They suffered very serious setbacks in the election, losing, getting one of their worst results, in fact, in the party's history. And that was partly blamed by many in the party on the fact that they'd been governing with Merkel for the past four years and that that had kind of cost them their identity as a separate party.
Many in the party are reluctant and there are concerted attempts to derail the attempts to form a coalition by the more radical youth wing within the party. Who are busy recruiting members in order to vote down the idea of holding, of having a new grand coalition in a membership ballot which will be due.
>> Appealing for support from his own party, the SPD leader Martin Schulz argued a stable government is vital for the country's success. But Merkel's CDU conservatives are weary. They're under pressure from the far right AFD party, which burst into Parliament for the first time in September's election. That follows concerns over Merkel's open-door policy for refugees in 2015, which saw over 1 million refugees enter the country.
>> The sudden arrival of all those people transformed Germany's demography overnight. Among some of her core voters, it made her very unpopular indeed. Some of those people have deserted the conservatives for the AFD with its clear anti-immigration message. And the fear among many in the right flank of the CDU, Merkel's party, is that unless they make firm noises on immigration they risk losing more votes in that direction as well.
>> Negotiators hope to wrap up talks before the eighth of February. But with people flocking to join the SPD specifically to vote against the new coalition, the chances of securing grassroot consent is diminishing by the day.