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Gabriel to announce Barley as SPD general secretary

Katarina Barley will take over as general secretary of Germany's Social Democrats, according to media reports. The 46-year-old member of parliament from the western city of Trier is set to assume the post on Monday.

Late Sunday, the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" broke the news that Katarina Barley would take over as the Social Democrats' general secretary. In an article for the Monday edition, SZ reported that the judge who has served in the Bundestag since 2013 would assume the post after an announcement Monday by

SPD head and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

Barley had served as a member of the Bundestag's legal affairs committee. Pending party approval in December, the 46-year-old will be in charge of attempting to return the government to SPD hands in 2017 - a tough challenge for a party that currently holds about 25 percent support.

On Saturday, Gabriel said current SPD General Secretary Yasmin Fahimi, an experienced trade unionist, would step down to serve as state secretary of the Labor Ministry, which the party controls in the coalition government. Fahimi will take over for Jörg Asmussen, who is leaving for the KfW state development bank.

The power-sharing agreement between the SPD and the allied right-wing Christian Democrats and Christian Social Union

has frayed on all sides,

with politicians attacking the

refugee policies of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The mainstream parties are also being attacked from the right by the

populist euroskeptic Alternative for Germany party.

On Sunday, Merkel met with Gabriel and Horst Seehofer, the chairman of Bavaria's CSU, to work toward presenting a

united front.

The decision on the controversial transit zones, however, was postponed to a later date.

mkg/cmk (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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