Germany faces snap election after coalition talks crumble
Germany could be facing a snap election as Angela Merkel's Conservative union is yet to form a coalition with another two parties, clashing on migration and climate change.
Chancellor Merkel had hoped for an agreement between her Christian Democrat and Christian Social Union, the Free Democratic Party and the Greens by 6pm tonight.
But failing to agree on key issues like the refugee crisis, use of non-renewable energy and the economy, chances of a ruling coalition are fading fast.
Fifteen hours of talks on Friday also ended in stalemate.
If an agreement can't be reached, the Germans face a snap election, after Merkel rejected going into opposition with her outgoing Parliamentary partners - the Social Democrats - when the election result was announced on September 24.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has failed to reach an agreement with the Free Democrat Party and the German Greens. Her Christian Democrat Union alliance with the Christian Social Union is trying to reach out to the other two parties to make a four-party coalition. She is pictured with Volker Kauder, leader of CDU/CSU faction
Party leader Martin Schulz has today again ruled out the possibility of pairing up with Merkel's bloc to form a new government.
Among several other things, the Bavarian-only Christian Social Union want an annual cap on refugees, while the Greens want to allow migrants to bring their closest relatives to Germany as well.
The Green Party have also demanded the country give up using coal and combustion engines by 2030.
Mrs Merkel is pictured arriving at talks with the Free Democrat and Green Party in Berlin today
While they have said they're open to compromise the other parties are struggling to agree, with Merkel's bloc saying they will commit to reducing Germany's carbon footprint but can't put a date on it.
The pro-business Free Democrats have expressed concern about what the moves would mean for jobs and Germany's economic competitiveness.
The four parties are already several days past Merkel's initial deadline to establish the foundation for a four-way coalition, which would be a first in German history.
A decision to open coalition negotiations would require approval from Greens members at a party congress later this month, so any compromise would have to be something party leaders could sell to their membership.
Even if there is a new election, polls currently suggest it would produce a very similar parliament to the current one, which would make efforts to form a new government similarly difficult.
Chairman of the Free Democrat Party Christian Lindner (pictured) is also battling to get a coalition, but is concerned what Green Party plans to end coal use would do the country's economy. He also wants a cap on the number of refugees allowed into Germany