German opposition leader Angela Merkel met with top members of the Greens party on Friday, hoping to forge an unlikely alliance which could lead Germany out of its postelection stalemate.
The center-right opposition edged Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats in Sunday's parliamentary vote, but fell short of a majority for their program of accelerated economic reforms, according to the AP.
With Schroeder refusing to concede defeat, Merkel entered talks on Friday morning with Greens leaders to sound out whether they could ally with her conservatives, despite gaping policy differences.
"The way things stand, there is very little in common," Erwin Huber, a senior conservative official, told reporters before the talks in a building next to the Reichstag parliament building.
Greens leaders were also skeptical.
"I can't see how this is supposed to work," Greens party co-chairman Reinhard Buetikofer was quoted as saying in Friday's Die Welt newspaper.
Many observers believe a so-called "grand coalition" of conservatives and Social Democrats is the most likely outcome of the complex talks underway since Sunday's vote.
Merkel and Schroeder held brief initial talks on Thursday and agreed to meet again next week. But they failed to resolve their competing claims to the chancellorship.