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Angela Merkel's position as Europe's most powerful politician hung in the balance last night as she faced the prospect of snap elections.
The long-standing German chancellor was left mired in her worst political crisis after crunch talks to form a coalition broke down over splits on contentious policy areas such as migration.
Move - Miss - Merkel - Yesterday - Return
In what could prove a highly risky move, Miss Merkel yesterday said that a return to the polls was the best way to find a solution.
'I don't have a minority government in my plans,' she said. 'I don't want to say never today, but I am very sceptical and I think that new elections would then be the better way.'
Return - Polls - Months - Election - Concerns
But a return to the polls only months after the last election will raise concerns about a further rise by the far-Right Alternative for Germany party, founded by neo-Nazis.
It capitalised on concerns about the German leader's handling of the migration crisis to win an unprecedented 12.6 per cent of the vote at the September election.
Talks - 'I - Everything - Country - Weeks
Speaking after talks broke down, she said: 'I will do everything possible to ensure that this country will be well led through these difficult weeks.'
The crisis unfolded in the early hours of Sunday night when the Free Democrats (FDP) walked out after four weeks of intense negotiations.
Clashes - Policy - Areas - Miss - Merkel
Despite broad clashes on key policy areas, Miss Merkel believed agreement between a ragtag partnership made up of her Christian democrats, FDP and the Greens was possible.
After a previous agreement deadline was missed last Thursday, the crisis talks broke down amid rows over how to address immigration, taxation and the environment.
Miss - Merkel - Pressure - Sister - Party
Miss Merkel has been under huge pressure from her Bavarian sister party over her decision to allow 1.1million asylum seekers into the country during the peak of the migration crisis.
She had vowed to take...
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