Agence France-Presse

Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) have reached a breakthrough to begin official talks on coalition.

After about 24 hours of talks, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU, agreed on a formal road to forming a so-called grand coalition government.

The deal ends months of uncertainty about the shape of Germany’s next government following September’s inconclusive elections and as a result heads off the threat of fresh elections.

A new coalition government would see Merkel at the helm of Europe’s biggest economy for a fourth term in office.

However, an SPD party conference set down for January 21 still has to approve holding the talks for a rerun of the Merkel-led coalition that has ruled the nation for eight of the chancellor’s 12 years in power.

DPA reports that party officials also expect it take until April to negotiate a new coalition agreement.

All parties agreed on a 28-page paper outlining the basis for moving ahead with formal coalition talks.

Lawmaker Julia Kloeckner, part of the negotiating team for Merkel’s Christian Democrats, tweeted a photo of the cover of the document Friday morning.

She says “many, many hours of work, serious wrangling and shaping are contained in these 28 pages.”

The result came after a more than 24-hour session, which capped a week of negotiations, AP reports.

Dorothee Baer, of the CDU’s Bavarian-only sister Christian Social Union, tweeted a photo of the agreement’s cover page in her hand just before 9 a.m., saying “still quite warm.”

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