1. Various of Christian Democrat (CDU) leader, Angela Merkel arriving on stage
2. Cutaway of media
3. SOUNDBITE: (German) Angela Merkel, Christian Democrat Leader:
"As far as I'm concerned we should form a government as soon as possible. We have a maximum of 30 days until the Bundestag (lower house of parliament) convenes but it would be better to form a government quickly. We in any case are not playing for time."
4. Merkel leaving stage
5. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder receiving flowers from SPD Chairman, Franz Muentefering
6. Social Democrat (SPD) supporters cheering
7. Schroeder and Muntefering on stage
8. SOUNDBITE: (German) Gerhard Schroeder, German Chancellor:
"I believe that it has been an unbelievably, professional job (the election campaign) in an uncertain situation and without all your support, this result wouldn't have been possible. Therefore, I thank you very much. But let me say again, without this magnificent party, which felt that it was needed, as Franz (Muenterfering) has always said, and which clearly had the will to lead this country, to lead the government, this will was always clear. Without that, it also wouldn't have been possible and our task is to implement the will of our whole party and that's what we'll do. Thank you to you all."
9. Wide of Schroeder and Muentefering on stage
10. SOUNDBITE: (German) Franz Muentefering, SPD Chairman:
"We are clearly the strongest party. Therefore our position and basis for upcoming negotiations is very clear. We want to have a strong and stable majority to form the government to lead our country. I know that there is another way to count the seats in Parliament but the truth is as I have described it. The parties fought against each other and that's why our party has to take the responsibility to form a new government with Gerhard Schroeder as the chancellor. We want to make as much of our programme as possible becomes a reality."
11. Various of Green Party press conference
12. SOUNDBITE: (German) Joschka Fischer, Green Party Candidate:
"I think the most important result is that yesterdays election made it clear that there's no majority for a neo-conservative change in Germany"
13. German parliament (Reichstag)
14. SOUNDBITE: (English) Marcus Walker, Wall Street Journal Correspondent:
"It's possible that there may be no outcome and President Koehler could dissolve the Bundestag again and there could be elections in December or February. So it's really hard to say now but it's hard to see a government emerging clearly because the battle fronts are becoming entrenched. Schroeder and Merkel are both insisting that they should be the leader. So this means unless one of them backs down humiliatingly, then there's going to be no chancellor."
15. 'Die Welt' newspaper showing CDU (Christian Democrat Party) leader and Presidential Candidate, Angela Merkel and incumbent Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
16. 'Bild' newspaper showing Merkel and Schroeder on front page, headline reading: (German)"Chancellor War!"
17. SOUNDBITE: (German) Vox pop, Resident:
"Schroeder behaved in a slightly arrogant way yesterday. In my opinion, he cannot call himself the new chancellor if he does not have a majority. I believe that Merkel will be the new Chancellor and Schroeder has to retire."
18. SOUNDBITE: (German) Vox pop, Resident:
"It won't be good for the reforms but everything is open-ended and it will be a fight and very difficult."
Germany's opposition leader Angela Merkel and the chairman of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's party made the first contacts with potential coalition partners on Monday in a scramble for power after Germany's inconclusive election.
Voters denied both Schroeder and Merkel a majority, but each is demanding the chancellor's office, launching a struggle that could last weeks.
Merkel, whose campaign to become the first female chancellor was thrown into doubt after her party barely managed to finish first, said her conservatives would seek to form a government "as soon as possible."
But Social Democrat chairman Franz Muentefering said Schroeder should lead the country, and rejected Merkel as chancellor at the head of a "grand coalition" of conservatives and Social Democrats.
"We are clearly the strongest party," he said.
Green Party candidate, Joschka Fischer said the election showed that German voters didn't want a "neo-conservative" government.
Schroeder's seven-year-old government of Social Democrats and Greens was ousted on Sunday after failing to cut the country's high unemployment and bring about substantial economic growth.
But Merkel's call to reform the country's rigid rules on hiring and firing and simplify taxes also were rejected by an electorate that seemed sceptical of drastic change.
Most speculation has focused on a "grand coalition" between the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats. But each side is demanding that their leader be chancellor.
Analyst Marcus Walker said there was a battle ahead as neither side seemed prepared to back down.
On Monday, the mass-circulation daily Bild newspaper appeared with the front-page headline "Chancellor War!" while one man on the streets of the German capital said he expected a difficult fight ahead.
Official results showed Merkel's group winning 225 seats, three more than the Social Democrats. The Free Democrats got 61, the Greens 51 and the new Left Party 54.