Germany's Scholz says to seek coalition with Greens, FDP

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BERLIN, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Olaf Scholz, the chancellor candidate for Germany's Social Democrats (SPD), said on Monday he had a mandate to lead the next government after a narrow election victory, saying he would seek to form a coalition with the Greens and Free Democrats.

Applauded at his party's headquarters in Berlin and presented with a bunch of red and white flowers, Scholz said voters had told Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives it was time to go into opposition after 16 years in power.

"The voters have very clearly spoken. They said who should form the next government," he said.

"They strengthened three parties - the Social Democrats, Greens and FDP - and therefore that is the clear mandate that the citizens of this country have given - these three should form the next government." (Reporting by Emma Thomasson and Madeline Chambers.)