German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she would prefer new elections to leading a minority government, after a breakdown in coalition talks plunged the country into political crisis.
She also said she did not see any reason to resign from her post despite the failed negotiations.
On Sunday evening, the FDP liberals pulled out of talks with Mrs Merkel’s CDU/CSU bloc and the Greens.
Germany’s president has called on parties to “reconsider their attitudes”
President Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged them to make compromises for Germany’s “well-being”, amid a situation he said was unprecedented.
Mrs Merkel faces her biggest challenge in 12 years as chancellor.
“The path to the formation of a government is proving harder than any of us had wished for,” she told broadcaster ARD.
But she said she was “very sceptical” about a minority government, adding that “new elections would be the better path”.
Some in her party still hope for another grand coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD), despite that party repeatedly ruling such an option out.
Earlier on Monday, SPD leader Martin Schulz said his party was “not afraid of new elections”.
Mrs Merkel’s bloc won September’s poll, but many voters deserted the mainstream parties.
Negotiations between the pro-market FDP, the Greens and the conservative CDU/CSU bloc had gone on for four weeks before the FDP’s surprise withdrawal late on Sunday.