Germany Plunged into Political Crisis After Coalition Talks Fail

BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany faced the greatest crisis of her career on Monday after negotiations to form a new government collapsed, shaking a country that is Europe’s political and economic anchor.

The breakdown abruptly raised the prospect of new elections in Germany. It came less than three months after the last elections seemed to assure that Ms. Merkel, an icon of Western democracy and values, would remain Germany’s leader for a fourth term.