World Bulletin / News Desk
Talks between the top German parties on forming a new government for Chancellor Angela Merkel's fourth term spilled into overtime Monday but confidence appeared to be growing they would strike a deal.
"We've reached the point where we can get a good outcome," conservative Armin Laschet, premier of Germany's most populous state North Rhine-Westphalia, told public broadcaster ARD.
"I am very confident that we'll reach a deal" on Monday, Justice Minister Heiko Maas of the Social Democrats (SPD) told the same programme.
As the parties returned to the negotiating table Monday morning, a deputy leader of Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), Volker Bouffier, admitted the talks could drag on until early Tuesday to iron out the final kinks.
Europe's top economic power has been locked in political limbo since an inconclusive general election in September.
Although Merkel and the CDU came out on top, they failed to secure a ruling majority, leading to the longest coalition negotiations in postwar history.
The Social Democrats, Germany's second largest party, have served under Merkel in a right-left "grand coalition" for two of her three terms since 2005.
But governing in her shadow has cost them vital support and they scored a historic low 20.5 percent in the September poll.
Their leader Martin Schulz had initially ruled out working with her in the next four years, preferring to sharpen the SPD's profile in opposition.
President Donald Trump repeated his call, meanwhile, for arming some of America's teachers and claimed the controversial proposal was increasingly drawing support.
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