BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's opposition Social Democrats are considering formally ruling out a coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats after September's election, according to media reports on Sunday.
Welt am Sonntag newspaper said party leaders hoped this could give supporters and election campaigners a motivational boost, much needed at a time when the Social Democrats trail Merkel by more than 15 percentage points.
Der Spiegel reported that party leader Sigmar Gabriel hinted at this in a parliamentary group meeting last week.
Most recent polls give neither Merkel's current coalition with the Free Democrats nor the Social Democrats and Greens enough votes to form governing coalitions. Pollsters and voters thus see a grand coalition as the likely result of September's vote.
SPD Chancellor Candidate Peer Steinbrueck has repeatedly said he will not enter a so-called grand coalition with Merkel after a September 22 vote, and others have said publicly they do not want the alliance, but the party as a whole has left it open.
The SPD declined to comment. The Social Democrats have no plans for a party meeting ahead of the parliamentary elections, which they would need to decide on any alliances the party might or might not enter after the vote.
A poll on Sunday put Merkel's Christian Democrats and their Bavarian sister party at 41 percent, ahead of the Social Democrats and Greens with 25 percent and 13 percent respectively.
Merkel's junior coalition partner the Free Democrats rose one point to 5 percent, the threshold needed to enter parliament.
(Reporting by Annika Breidthardt; editing by Andrew Roche)