FT says a deal will be reached shortly, and Merkel will be chancellor. Schröder is out.
Ms Merkel’s expected victory in the battle for the chancellorship is likely to be announced on Monday, following a meeting on Sunday evening in Berlin between Mr Schröder and Ms Merkel, according to the SPD politicians, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The two leaders met on Thursday evening for four hours to agree the framework of a SPD-CDU grand coalition, but refused on Friday to disclose details. The talks also include SPD leader Franz Müntefering, and Bavarian premier Edmund Stoiber.
Officials close to Mr Schröder said the chancellor would not become vice chancellor and foreign minister in the coalition, despite pressure from within the SPD for him do so.
The SPD may be given an equal number of cabinet posts as the CDU and be offered first choice of ministries to control, the MP said. SPD officials said these could include the foreign, economics and family ministries.
In addition, the CDU is almost certain to give the SPD assurances – even ahead of lengthy coalition talks expected to start next week – that it will drop key elements of its more radical economic reform agenda, such as changes to job protection and collective bargaining rules.