Merkel says has spoken with SPD, talks with others not ruled out

German Chancellor and leader of the Christian Democratic Union ( CDU) Angela Merkel addresses a news conference after a CDU party board meeting in Berlin September 23, 2013, the day after the general election. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach (Reuters)

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's Angela Merkel said on Monday she had already been in contact with the main opposition Social Democrats (SPD) about a possible governing coalition following Sunday's election but did not exclude speaking to other potential partners too. "We conservatives have a clear mandate to form a government and Germany needs a stable government, so we will carry out this mandate," said Merkel, heading for a third term as chancellor after her conservatives' resounding election win on Sunday. "We are, of course, open for talks and I have already had initial contact with SPD chairman (Sigmar Gabriel), who said the SPD must first hold a meeting of its leaders on Friday," she told a news conference. The German election result was also a strong vote for unity in the European Union, which must stick to its reform process to become more competitive, Merkel said. (Reporting by Stephen Brown and Gareth Jones)