Germany's Green Party will allow all of its 120,000 members to vote on a final coalition deal, it announced at its party congress on Saturday morning, according to federal manager Michael Kellner.
The environmentalist party came third in last Sunday's election with 14.8%, behind the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and Angela Merkel's center-right union of the Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU), says DW.
No party won enough seats to form a majority government, or even a two-party coalition as has been the norm for Germany since 1945. The most likely coalition formation will see the Greens and the business-focused Free Democrats (FDP) — who came in fourth — team up with either the SPD or CDU/CSU.
While members at Saturday's conference approved the team that will head coalition negotiations, the final decision — including which positions will be earmarked for Green lawmakers — will be given to the party's whole membership.
The co-leaders of the Greens, Annalena Baerbock — who stood as the party's chancellor candidate — and Robert Habeck have already begun talks with the FDP.
They planned to meet with representatives from the SPD on Sunday. A meeting with the CDU is scheduled for Tuesday.
As the two kingmakers, the Greens and the FDP took an unconventional step and opened bilateral talks before reaching out to the bigger parties. There have been questions over their ability to govern together given their somewhat opposing views on how to deal with climate issues.
The left-leaning Green party is in favor of public funds to make German industry more environmentally friendly whereas the more-neoliberal FDP prefers private investment.
Habeck tried to ease members' concerns, saying alliances should be possible between parties that do not "think the same, feel the same, eat the same and sing the same songs.''
"If we don't act in a really dumb way, then we won't just help carry the government in the next four years but have a decisive say in it,'' he added.
Preference for coalition with Social Democrats
DW political correspondent Giulia Saudelli, speaking from the Green Party congress, said that "the Social Democrats, who came in first in the election, are going ahead and talking to both the Greens and the FDP, and it seems like a majority of Germans are in favor of this kind of three-party solution for the next government."
"But the conservatives, who suffered an important loss in the election, who have come in second, still haven't given up," she said. "They're also talking to the smaller kingmaker parties, and they'll be ready to come into play again if the coalition talks with the Social Democrats do end up failing."