Angela Merkel has personally congratulated the Social Democrats' Olaf Scholz "on his election success," the outgoing chancellor's office said Wednesday.
Merkel contacted Scholz (SDP), her finance minister, on Monday, according to a statement from her press office.
Government spokesperson Steffen Seibert did not comment further on the outcome of the election, and said only that the incumbent would continue to do her duties until her successor was in place.
"The chancellor and the ministers are doing their job until a new federal government takes over," he said. "The chancellor will continue to cultivate foreign ties, including through trips abroad and meetings and talks with heads of state and government of other countries."
Laschet also salutes rival
Merkel wasn't the only one offering congratulations to the SPD candidate. According to news agency AFP, Armin Laschet (CDU) has also saluted his rival to succeed Merkel.
Sources in the Social Democratic Party and in Laschet's CDU/CSU camp told AFP the congratulations were sent by letter.
Laschet had previously come under fire for not reacting in such a manner.
FDP indicates CDU coalition preference
Meanwhile, the Free Democratic Party (FDP) has reiterated that its preferred coalition partner would be Laschet's CDU, rather than Scholz's SPD.
Sunday's German election saw the SPD emerge as the most popular party but falling well short of a majority, thus requiring other parties to help it cross the threshold in the Bundestag. After the CDU/CSU bloc, the Greens and the FDP are the next two most prominent parties following the nationwide vote. However, the pro-free market FDP is reluctant to work with the Social Democrats over apparent policy differences, according to the FDP's Secretary General Volker Wissing.
Despite the preference, Wissing did not rule anything out. "In the search for a new government, we are sounding out common ground and bridges over things that divide us — and even finding some," he said on Instagram. "Exciting times."
Wissing said his party will have further talks with the Greens on building a coalition on Friday and will then meet the conservatives and Social Democrats separately over the weekend.
jsi/aw (AFP, dpa, Reuters)