The pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) unexpectedly walked out of the talks with Merkel’s conservatives and the Greens, saying that the three parties could not find compromises on key issues like immigration and the environment.
Merkel could seek to form a minority government with the Greens, or new elections will be called.
“Today there was no progress but rather there were setbacks because targeted compromises were questioned,” FDP leader Christian Lindner told reporters. “It is better not to rule than to rule falsely. Goodbye!”
Merkel was weakened after an election in September as voters angry with her decision in 2015 to open Germany’s borders to more than a million asylum seekers punished her conservatives by voting for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) far-right party.