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Merkel officially nominated as conservatives' candidate for German chancellor

The Christian Democrats and their Bavarian sister party have officially chosen Angela Merkel as their nominee. Her main rival at September elections will be Social Democrat Martin Schulz.

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Bavarian allies back Merkel's bit for fourth term

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was on Monday officially nominated to run as her party's candidate in this year's federal elections, party sources say. A leaders' meeting of her center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), confirmed the foregone conclusion at a meeting in Munich.

There is "unanimous support of both parties for Merkel's candidacy," said Horst Seehofer, the leader of the CSU and premier of Bavaria.

The 62-year-old has emerged as one of Merkel's harshest critics within her own ranks in recent years, as Bavaria has borne the brunt of incoming migrants throughout the refugee crisis. Seehofer has called for a cap on the number of refugees, and in 2015 even threatened to file a complaint about the Merkel administration's refugee policy with Germany's highest court.

In a press conference on Monday, Merkel ruled out implementing a limit on refugee numbers, but said both the CSU and her own CDU party had agreed that the influx of more than 1 million people in 2015-16 should not happen again. She also said the two parties would start working on a joint election platform for the upcoming vote.

Agenda to be announced

Merkel and Seehofer were expected to present the CDU/CSU election agenda as part of a joint statement late on Monday.

A one-time research chemist from former east Germany, Merkel has been active in politics since shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. After a stint as the minister for women and youth and then the environment under former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, she became head of the CDU in 2000. She became chancellor herself in 2005 and has won every election contested since.

Her main rival in the 2017 election will be current coalition partners the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and their candidate, former European Parliament President Martin Schulz.

es,nm/tj (AFP, dpa)

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