Germany's President Frank Walter Steinmeier has asked the outgoing chancellor, Angela Merkel, to perform her duties until a new government is formed, the press-service of the head of state said on Tuesday.
"This request was made in accordance with item three of paragraph 69 of the fundamental law. The constituent sitting of the 20th Bundestag is being held today," the news release reads.
The powers of federal chancellor and government ministers expire on the day of the parliament's constituent sitting. If a new Cabinet has not been formed by this moment, and this is precisely the situation in Germany today, the previous government is technically out of office, but continues to perform its duties without any restrictions.
Merkel and all other government officials will receive resignation papers from Steinmeier after 18:00 Moscow time.
At the constituent sitting of the Bundestag, the seats usually taken by the chancellor and government ministers are vacant. They are seated on the upper gallery from where visitors usually watch the debate.
Talks on a future coalition are being held by the Social Democratic Party, Free Democratic Party and Greens. It is not ruled out that the name of Germany's new chancellor will be announced in December. Then the current government's powers will be completely terminated.