Reports: Breakthrough in German government coalition talks

From right, German Interior Minister and delegate of the German Christian Democratic Party (CDU) Thomas de Maiziere, the governor of the German state

Journalists queue outside the Social Democrats party headquarters when waiting for statements after the exploratory talks between Merkel's Christian D

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, arrives for exploratory talks about a new German government between her Christian Unions block and the Social

Social Democratic Party, SPD, chairman Martin Schulz arrives for a statement prior to exploratory talks about a new German government between German C

Social Democratic Party, SPD, chairman Martin Schulz, left, briefs the media prior to exploratory talks about a new German government between German C

BERLIN (AP) — Leaders of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Union bloc and the center-left Social Democrats have reportedly agreed on the basis to move ahead with coalition negotiations after marathon overnight talks.

The dpa news agency and other German media, citing talks participants, reported Friday that the party leaders were preparing to recommend formal coalition negotiations after hashing out compromises on wide-ranging issues.

The Social Democrats' leaders will still have to sell the coalition to their membership, and face much resistance. But if the talks had failed Merkel's only options remaining would have been to form a minority government or hold new elections.

The Social Democrats had initially ruled out another coalition with Merkel after poor results in the Sept. 24 election, but reconsidered after her talks with two other parties failed.