Regional elections in Lower Saxony see Social Democrats and Greens narrowly oust Conservative and Free Democrat coaliton. FDP vote was surprisingly strong.
Germany's center-left Social Democrats have voted in an unprecedented ballot among party members to enter a coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel and her conservatives. Speculation now focuses on the cabinet line-up.
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."
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.
Germany's business-oriented Free Democratic Party (FDP) is technically still in government, but to all intents and purposes the party is dead. The question now is whether its new leader, Christian Lindner, can revive it.
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