BERLIN, Oct. 10 -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives will hold exploratory talks with the Green Party Thursday evening in a bid to form a coalition to rule Europe's largest economy for the next four years.
Despite their differences on climate change, tax and social issues, a coalition of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party Christian Social Union (CSU) with the environmentalist Greens is possible if coalition talks with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) fail.
"We are serious about the talks," Green Party leader Katrin Goering-Eckardt said in a recent interview.
The party on Tuesday elected Goering-Eckardt and Anton Hofreiter as co-leaders to hold talks with Merkel's conservatives, and its entire leadership quit after the election to make room for renewal.
The CDU/CSU bloc and the Greens have never shared power at the national level and there is scepticism on both sides over whether the two parties would be able to bridge their differences.
The Greens wanted to keep fighting for a more ecological, just and modern country, said the party's new leadership, calling for more efforts on clean energy and greater rights for immigrants. They intended to emphasize refugee policy at Thursday's talks, the leaders said.
The first round of coalition talks between Merkel's conservative bloc and the SPD ended last Friday with both sides agreeing to continue the talks in 10 days' time.
The CDU/CSU bloc won 41.5 percent of the vote in the federal election on Sept. 22, while the Green Party captured 8.4 percent.
However, the CDU/CSU bloc needs a partner to form a majority in the parliament.
Recent polls showed most Germans support a repeat of the so-called "grand coalition" between CDU/CSU and SPD, as in Merkel's first term in 2005-2009.