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German opposition launches bid to topple Merkel

Published on Dec 7, 2012 10:14 AM

BERLIN (AFP) - Germany's opposition Social Democrats will on Sunday launch their campaign to unseat Chancellor Angela Merkel next year, throwing their backing behind her former finance minister to challenge her.

Delegates from the centre-left SPD party gather in the northern city of Hanover to formally hand Mr Peer Steinbrueck, 65, the unenviable task of beating the hugely popular Mrs Merkel, often called the world's most powerful woman.

Mr Steinbrueck's drive for chancellor has started disastrously with a stream of bad press, notably over revelations he had pocketed some 1.25 million euros (US$1.63 million) in fees for making speeches at private functions.

And polls show the size of the challenge ahead of him to beat the conservative Mrs Merkel, 58, who is riding a wave of personal and party support for her firm approach in the eurozone crisis.

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