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IHT: Leadership crisis in Bavaria threatens Merkel bloc

BERLIN: Edmund Stoiber, a longstanding rival and ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, was under pressure Sunday to resign as state premier of Bavaria, threatening disarray in Merkel's conservative bloc.

With state elections scheduled for 2008 and a dramatic fall in support for Stoiber in weekend opinion polls, leading members of his conservative Christian Social Union were withdrawing their support for Bavaria's veteran politician to run again for the premiership.

For the first time since becoming premier in 1993 of Bavaria -- where some of the giants of Germany's car and electronics industry are based, including BMW and Siemens -- support for Stoiber, 65, and his party has plummeted so much that if elections were held today, the Christian Social Union would lose its absolute majority, which has enabled it to govern alone.

The poor showing in the polls has increased calls inside the party for Stoiber to stand aside and allow a new leader to restore the party's credibility for the state elections and, later, the federal elections.

The state's legislature will hold a special meeting Monday that could decide Stoiber's future.

by Fran on Mon Jan 15th, 2007 at 01:09:40 AM EST
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