January 26, 2018 / 8:12 AM / a year ago

Merkel upbeat as coalition talks with Germany's SPD start

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a reception of German carnival societies at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, January 23, 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday she was optimistic as she headed into coalition talks with the Social Democrats (SPD) and added that the two parties would negotiate swiftly as they seek to end the political impasse in Europe’s largest economy.

“We will focus on negotiating rapidly,” Merkel said.

“People expect us to move towards forming a government and that’s why I’m very optimistic and very determined in these discussions that we reach a result and I believe that is achievable in a relatively manageable timeframe,” she added.

Four months on from a national election, Germany is still awaiting a new government. If talks with the SPD are successful, a government is expected to be in place by Easter.

Reporting by Michelle Martin and Thomas Escritt

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