Social Democrat leader Olaf Scholz was a step closer to becoming Germany's new chancellor on Friday as his party opened formal coalition talks with the Green Party and the Free Democrats.
Scholz announced that the three parties, which have enough seats in the Bundestag to form a government, agreed that they had enough common ground for negotiations to begin.
The coalition will still need approval by the leadership of the Greens and the Free Democrats.
The Social Democrats won elections in Germany on September 26 by a small margin with Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union finishing second, its worst-ever election result.
If the coalition talks flounder, the CDU could theoretically still form a minority government with the support of the greens and the liberals, although it is unlikely. Another alternative would be a 'grand coalition' of the CDU and SPD, which was the situation under Merkel.
Merkel, who has led Germany since 2005, announced in 2018 that she wouldn't seek a fifth term.