Tough talks to form Germany's next government collapsed Sunday as the four parties in talks failed to bridge a yawning gap over immigration policy.
Here are some of the thorniest issues that led to the failure.
- Immigration -
Migrants and refugees have been Germany's toughest political issue since a mass influx from 2015 brought some 1.2 million asylum seekers, sparking a backlash that has seen the far-right AfD party enter parliament.
Merkel's CDU and especially their more conservative CSU allies from Bavaria, where tens of thousands of refugees crossed over the border from Austria, are pushing to limit Germany's annual intake to a benchmark figure of 200,000.