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Germany

In win for Merkel, Hamburg gets new conservative mayor

When Hamburg's mayor quit last month, it looked bad for the city-state's coalition government of conservative Christian Democrats and Greens. But their candidate was appointed mayor with surprising support on Wednesday.

Hamburg's new mayor and state premier Christoph Ahlhaus

Ahlhaus now picks up where von Beust left off

Christoph Ahlhaus was appointed premier and mayor of the German city-state of Hamburg on Wednesday.

He fills the spot left vacant by fellow Christian Democrat Ole von Beust, who stepped down in July for personal reasons.

The victory comes at a difficult time for the Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU, which is losing support among voters. Von Beust's resignation had been seen as another blow to the party.

In Hamburg, the CDU forms a rare coalition with the Green party. Together they have 68 out of 121 seats in the state legislature.

Ahlhaus won the support of 70 members, meaning at least two opposition deputies voted for him. The head of the opposition Social Democrats in Hamburg, Michael Neumann, said it was "annoying" that the opposition didn't vote in unison against Ahlhaus and said he didn't know from which party the two votes came.

The 40-year-old Ahlhaus was Hamburg's interior minister and has assured the Greens he will stick to environmental policies agreed to by his predecessor.

Author: Holly Fox (AFP/dpa/Reuters)
Editor: Martin Kuebler

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