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Germany

Merkel rejects call for move to right for Christian Democrats

Chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected a call from some party members to shift to the right. Merkel said she wanted to keep her Christian Democrat Party closer to the center to maintain a broad political base.

Angela Merkel

Merkel wants the party to continue in the same direction

Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected calls for a political change of course to right for her Christian Democrat Party (CDU) on Sunday.

Angela Merkel, left, and Erika Steinbach

Merkel came to the defense of her fellow CDU member Steinbach last week

The chancellor told a meeting of the CDU's steering committee that such a move would go against the broad political tradition of the party.

"I will once again stress that we are a party with three roots. Liberal, Conservative and influenced by Christian ethics."

"None of these roots can be neglected," said Merkel.

Merkel was reacting to misgivings about the direction that the CDU is taking, with concerns that the party is not positioned sufficiently to the right on the political spectrum.

Disgruntled CDU member Erika Steinbach, who stood down from the national executive of the party on Thursday, has said there is room for a "new, really conservative party."

No room for radicalism

Merkel added that she saw herself in the tradition of never allowing a "party with a radical character" to exist to the right of the CDU and its Bavarian sister party the CSU.

Horst Seehofer

Seehofer has expressed concern about a lack of conservative values

Steinbach is head of Germany's Federation of Expellees, which represents ethnic Germans who fled eastern Europe at the end of the Second World War.

She resigned after a comment about Polish mobilization of troops ahead of the German invasion of the country, prompting accusations that she was trying to rewrite history.

Merkel's office defended her on Friday, saying that the statement had been distorted.

However, Steinbach called the present direction of the CDU into question on Saturday and threatened to leave. She also claimed a new right-wing protest party would easily exceed the 5 percent percentage of votes needed to enter parliament.

Horst Seehofer, leader of the CSU, has also expressed concern that conservative values are being abandoned.

Author: Richard Connor (Reuters/AP/dpa)
Editor: Rob Turner

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