Germany's president is to meet with party leaders after talks to form a new government between Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc the left-leaning Greens and pro-business Free Democrats broke down earlier this week.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who has called on political leaders to rethink their positions and try again to form a new government, will meet the leaders of the Greens and Free Democrats later on Tuesday.
The centre-left Social Democrats, Mrs Merkel's partners in the outgoing government, say they will not budge from their refusal to enter a new Merkel administration.
If that stands, a minority government or new elections are the only options.
Peter Altmaier, the acting finance minister and a close confidant of Mrs Merkel, called on the parties to not run away from their responsibility, but "make forming a government the primary objective".