BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s center-left Social Democratic Party and two smaller parties say they will deepen their talks next week on forming a new government. If the negotiations among the Social Democrats, the pro-business Free Democrats and and the environmentalist Greens are successful, it would push outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Union bloc into opposition after her 16 years of leading Europe’s biggest economy. The leader of Merkel’s party indicated his willingness to step aside after his campaign to succeed Merkel as chancellor failed to convince voters. North Rhine-Westphalia state governor Armin Laschet said Thursday he will propose calling a party conference in the coming weeks and spoke of a need for “new personalities to make a fresh start.”
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