BERLIN — The latest on efforts by German political parties to form a coalition government (all times local):

1:25 a.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she regrets the decision of the smaller Free Democratic Party to pull out of preliminary talks on forming a governing coalition but says she will see the country through a “difficult time.”

Merkel told reporters early Monday that it is a “day of deep reflection on how to go forward” after the Free Democrats’ decision to end coalition talks with her conservative bloc and the left-leaning Greens.

But, Merkel says, she “will do everything possible to ensure that this country will be well led through these difficult weeks.”

Merkel says she will consult with Germany’s president later Monday to brief him on the negotiations and discuss what comes next.


12:25 a.m.

Talks over forming the framework for a new German government have broken down after the Free Democrat party pulled out of discussions with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc and the Greens.

The development raises the question of whether Germany will be heading for new elections.

Other options for Merkel would be attempting to continue her current coalition with the Social Democrats, which that party has said it will not do, or she could try to go ahead with a minority government.

Free Democrats leader Christian Lindner told reporters late Sunday his party decided to pull out of the drawn-out talks rather than further compromise its principles. He says “it is better not to govern, than to govern falsely.”

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