Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 03:56:02 AM EST
UPDATE After searching through news services, there is more speculative information in the comments
So now the serious discussions really begin: German rivals to hold talks
Thursday's meeting is the first between the rival candidates since the election and is unlikely to produce a breakthrough, reports the BBC's Ray Furlong in Berlin.
He says a so-called grand coalition between the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats is still regarded as a likely eventual resolution to the crisis.
However, such a deal could take weeks to be struck and may propel a compromise candidate to the top job.
If no deal is reached, another election may have to be held - probably in 2006.
Here is some more news on the status of other possible coalitions:
On Wednesday, the Social Democrats held talks with their current partners in government, the Greens, over a future coalition.
But in order to secure a majority, the Social Democrats will also need to entice the liberal Free Democrat party into a coalition - a plan not favoured by the Greens. On Friday, Mrs Merkel's party will meet the Greens for coalition talks. (...)
The Free Democrats, who are closer to Mrs Merkel's Christian Democrats, have dismissed the possibility of any pact with the Social Democrats.
The co-chairman of the Greens, Reinhard Buetikofer, has said he cannot picture joining a coalition led by Ms Merkel.
Mr Buetikofer said the Christian Democrats and Free Democrats both appear to be "searching for an auxiliary motor that would help them, with a majority in parliament, find a way into the chancellery for policies that did not win a majority from voters".
"We are not going to provide this back door," he said.
So, based on these statements, it looks like it is shaping up to be a Grand Coalition, with a leader other than Schroeder or Merkel...or a new election.
What do you think is going to happen? Who would be that "other" leader of the Grand Coalition, if it were not to be Schroeder or Merkel?