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Germany

Seehofer Wins Nomination to Become Premier of Bavaria

German Agriculture Minister Horst Seehofer won nomination Wednesday, Oct. 8 to become premier of the southern state of Bavaria, making his election a practical certainty.

Horst Seehofer, nominee for the premiership of the Christian Social Union party CSU in Bavaria

Guess who's nominated?

The position was up for grabs after Guenther Beckstein announced last week that he would step down after a disastrous election setback for his conservative party, the Christian Social Union (CSU).

The caucus of CSU state legislators picked Seehofer as their candidate to lead the state's next government, with 88 per cent in favor.

Berlin officials said no replacement had been chosen yet for the agriculture and consumer affairs portfolio Seehofer holds, but Gerd Mueller, 53, a CSU politician and current state secretary at the same ministry, was a front runner for the post.

The CSU, a potent force in Germany's national politics, had ruled the state of Bavaria for more than four decades without needing a coalition partner and is a key party in Chancellor Angela Merkel's federal coalition.

Merkel praised Seehofer, saying he was the "right choice" to lead the CSU in future elections.

The CSU lost nearly one-third of its voter support in state elections in Bavaria on September 28. With just 43 per cent of voters backing it, the CSU will need a smaller party as coalition partner and is in talks.

Premier Beckstein's departure after just a year in office triggered a succession battle among fellow CSU politicians Seehofer, Bavarian Science Minister Thomas Goppel and the state's interior minister, Joachim Herrmann, but Herrmann and Goppel withdrew Tuesday.

Seehofer is also front-runner to take over party chairman Erwin Huber's position at a CSU membership conference later this month.

The post of party leader and premier had been united in the hands of veteran politician Edmund Stoiber until he was toppled in a party rebellion last year.

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