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Germany

German State Premier Resigns

Erwin Teufel, the Christian Democratic premier of the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, will step down next April ahead of elections in 2006, he announced Monday. Teufel, who became the state's premier in 1991, said he didn't want to people to think that he was unable to let go. "It would be unbearable for me to have citizens thinking that I cannot leave office," the 65-year-old told reporters. Baden-Württemberg's conservatives have been debating Teufel's succession for a long time, but the premier had so far refused to say whether he planned to stay on after the next elections. Baden-Württemberg's minister for European affairs, Christoph Palmer, announced his resignation after slapping a party colleague during a heated discussion over Teufel's future. Possible candidates for the state's top jobs include Günther Oettinger, the conservative's parliamentary group leader in Baden-Württemberg, and Annette Schavan, the state's culture minister.