Regional elections in Lower Saxony see Social Democrats and Greens narrowly oust Conservative and Free Democrat coaliton. FDP vote was surprisingly strong.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives have sat down for a second set of talks discussing the possibility of ruling in partnership with the ecologist Greens. Many in Germany consider this alliance unlikely, at best.
Social Democrat chairman Sigmar Gabriel has sought to rally party colleagues at their conference in Leipzig. The SPD is lagging after election defeat and amid difficult coalition talks with Angela Merkel's conservatives.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) will stay at the helm in Berlin for another four years. According to early results, the CDU earned 41.7 percent of the vote, almost 8 percent more than in 2009.
The new leader of Germany's Free Democrats (FDP), Christian Lindner, has called for the party to rethink its political role. He also condemned Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives for "breaking their word."
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