Berlin: Three-party exploratory talks to form Germany's next coalition government collapsed after the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) walked out of marathon negotiations, the media reported on Monday.
"The four discussion partners have no common vision for modernisation of the country or common basis of trust," FDP leader, Christian Lindner, announced shortly before midnight on Sunday after the four parties involved missed several self-prescribed deadlines to resolve differences on migration and energy policy.
"It is better not to govern than to govern badly... Goodbye," the Guardian quoted Lindner as saying. Chancellor Angela Merkel has been trying to forge a coalition between her Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU), the FDP and the Green party, following federal elections in September.
Announcing the collapse of the talks as an "almost historic day", Merkel on Sunday night insisted that the parties would have been capable of reaching a compromise even in spite of their polarised views on migrations, and described the FDP's walk-out as "regrettable".
"It is a day of deep reflection on how to go forward in Germany. "As chancellor, I will do everything to ensure that this country is well managed in the difficult weeks to come," Merkel said.
The outcome of the collapse remains unknown but Merkel is due to meet President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who has the power to call snap elections, reports the BBC.
German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung called Sunday night's development the worst crisis of Merkel's 12 years in office.
Meanwhile, the second-largest party in parliament, the Social Democrats, have ruled out returning to a coalition government with Merkel. "The voter has rejected the grand coalition," the Guardian quoted party leader Martin Schulz as saying at a party conference in Nuremberg earlier on Sunday.