BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her top party officials were meeting Monday for talks about Germany's future government after a stunning victory in the country's elections.

Merkel's Union bloc scored its best result in 23 years Sunday to put her on course for a third term, winning 41.5 percent of the vote and finishing only five seats short of an absolute majority in the lower house. However, Merkel will need to reach out to center-left rivals to form a new government after her coalition partner crashed out of Parliament.

Merkel looks likely to end up leading either a "grand coalition" government with the center-left Social Democrats of defeated challenger Peer Steinbrueck — reviving the alliance that ran Germany in her first term — or, less likely, with the environmentalist Greens.

 

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