Ex-finance minister to challenge Merkel in 2013


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.
Associated Press
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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