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Merkel ally resigns as Saxony premier after AfD poll surge

The Christian Democrat premier of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich, has resigned after an embarrassing showing by his party in last month's general election. The party came second to the far-right Alternative for Germany.

Stanislaw Tillich, the conservative premier of Saxony, said on Wednesday he would not seek re-election as the leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) in the state at a regional party congress in December.

Tillich's resignation comes just weeks after the CDU was trounced in Saxony by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the September 24 federal election. The AfD won most seats in the state, pushing Merkel's conservatives to an embarrassing second.

Read more: AfD: What you need to know about Germany's far-right party

Tillich said it was time to bring in a younger generation of leaders to meet the challenges of the future in the state, which has been governed by Merkel's party since German reunification in 1990.

"Today we face big communal challenges," Tillich said. "For a good future Saxony needs new answers. And this requires new and fresh strength."

The 58-year-old Tillich, who has been premier of Saxony since May 2008, proposed Michael Kretschmer, the CDU general secretary in Saxony, as his successor. Tillich will remain in office until December.

ap/rc (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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