German Chancellor Angela Merkel reacts during the debate after her speech for the upcoming EU summit at the German parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Wednesday, June 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
BERLIN (AP) — Germany's main opposition party appears set to choose former Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck, who helped pilot the country through the 2008-9 financial crisis, as Chancellor Angela Merkel's challenger in next year's election.
Several German media outlets reported the center-left Social Democrats have decided to nominate the 65-year-old Steinbrueck. Party officials wouldn't immediately comment Friday but former Cabinet colleague Brigitte Zypries wrote on Facebook: "it's true, it's going to be him."
Two other potential candidates have been in play: ex-Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and party chairman Sigmar Gabriel.
The party faces an uphill struggle to unseat Merkel though Steinbrueck is considered relatively well-placed to attract swing voters.
This week, Steinbrueck presented a plan for "taming financial markets" — expected to be a prominent issue in the party's campaign.
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