Arriving at SPD headquarters for talks more than three months after a national election, Merkel said the parties had much work to get through but intended to tackle it quickly, adding: “I think it can succeed.”
The SPD, which had said it would go into opposition after its worst election showing since 1933, reconsidered when Germany’s president intervened.
But the centre-left party, among whose membership opposition to a grand coalition re-run remains strong, has been playing hard to get.
A group called “NoGroKo”, meaning “no grand coalition”, has formed within its ranks to campaign against working with Merkel again, saying that would cost the SPD votes and make the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) the main opposition party.
SPD leader Martin Schulz said that his party was entering the talks constructively.