Your daily rundown of the action as Angela Merkel bids farewell to the role of German Chancellor and coalition talks between the major parties show signs of faltering.
Fresh from their election triumph on 24 September, Merkel and her Christian Democrats are aiming to form a “grand coalition” with the Social Democrats (SPD).
To turn that ambition into reality, though, they need to overcome lingering divisions in their own ranks.
Read our journalist on the ground for more as Germany braces itself for a “historic task”.
This week, the German leader met potential coalition partners over a series of bilateral sessions.
The SPD, the big winner in the election, is now headed into open-ended coalition talks with Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP)
The coalition talks are contentious because of SPD objections to far-right support in government.
And if SPD negotiators refuse to back a government led by Merkel’s CDU and FDP, then Merkel will have no option but to replace the SPD as chancellor.
For that to happen, Merkel would have to look elsewhere to form a ‘grand coalition’ with the radical left Die Linke or the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany.
Berlin’s billionaire financier Hans-Joachim Watzke could be one possible option, because his CSU Bavarian sister party and the FDP have a better working relationship.
Political analyst Thomas Hitzl of Berlin’s Free University explains why it wouldn’t be that easy, but there is still a chance that Merkel can keep her job.