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Germany

Opposition Leaders Confirmed in Office

Christian Democratic Union head Angela Merkel was confirmed by a large majority as the parliamentary group chairwoman of the CDU/CSU bloc on Tuesday. The 49-year-old received 209 of 223 votes -- or 93.7 percent -- from parliamentarians from her own party and the Bavarian sister party CSU. Wolfgang Schäuble and Friedrich Merz were also reelected as the group's deputy chairmen, despite confusion over whether Merz would again stand for the post. He had suggested he would not run because he was vehemently opposed to the health system reforms agreed on between the government and his party. After a night of discussion with Merkel, Merz finally agreed to run for reelection and to support the compromise on the reforms in a parliamentary vote on Friday. Tuesday's vote within the parliamentary group is seen as an indicator of politicians' strength. Last year, Merkel was voted in with 92.2 percent of her colleagues' support. Merz received the worst result of the numerous confirmations with 124 voting for him and 34 against.