BERLIN, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- A question mark remains over which party will join a coalition government with German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Social Union (CSU), as mainstream opposition forces try to reach consensus within themselves.
The the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), which took 25.7 percent of votes in Sunday's election, will hold a party conference in Berlin on Friday and try to reach consensus on the coalition issue.
Opinion polls suggested that most Germans would support a coalition between Merkel's conservatives and the SPD, the two biggest political parties in Germany, to form a stable government and rule the Europe's largest economy for the next four years. Merkel headed such a "grand coalition" during her first term in 2005-2009.
However, Merkel and her conservative bloc may have to make big concessions on major policies and cabinet posts in order to win over the SPD, as the center-left party suffered the worst ever federal election result after the previous coalition.
The SPD sees differently on major domestic issues from Merkel's CDU and their Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU), which may lead to tough and long coalition negotiation talks.
A particularly conflict-prone topic would be the nationwide legal minimum wage. The SPD has stressed greater social justice and reiterated the plan to introduce a national minimum wage of 8.50 euros (11.35 U.S. dollars) per hour. The party also wants to raise taxes on incomes above 100,000 euros to 49 percent from 42 percent.
However, Merkel said such tax hike plans would risk spoiling the good situation in the country. The CDU party rules out tax increases and supports minimum wage deals struck by employers and trade unions in different industry sectors and regions.
On handling the eurozone debt crisis, the SPD called for more solidarity measures for indebted eurozone members including Greece. In contrast, Merkel insisted on structural reforms and spending cuts by indebted countries and said it is her responsibility as chancellor to keep the reform pressure on Greece.
Merkel reiterated after her party's election victory that the European policy of the next government would not change.
Merkel's CDU/CSU bloc proved to be the biggest winner with 41.5 percent of votes in the federal election. But her current junior coalition partner the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) party failed to retain seats in the parliament with a disappointing result of 4.8 percent.
Without a majority of the parliament seats, CDU/CSU union has to find a partner to form a coalition.
Besides the SPD party, another possible party to enter a coalition with Merkel's conservative CDU/CSU is the Green Party, which came fourth in Sunday's election with 8.4 percent of votes.
But Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer, head of CDU's Bavarian sister party CSU, has ruled out the possibility of cooperation with the environmentalist Green Party for fear of being perceived as the conservative party's leftward shift, according to local news magazine Der Spiegel.
In addition, the entire leadership of the party would quit at the next party congress by the end of October to make room for renewal. They include co-chairpersons Claudia Roth and Cem Oezdemir and the party council with the leading candidates Juergen Trittin and Katrin Goering-Eckart.
The Greens' co-chairman Oezdemir said in an German television interview after the election that the difference with the Merkel's CDU is "of course enormous in fields like energy policy, social policy and economic policy, but we will talk and see."