German Fin Min due out of hospital Monday -Merkel

BERLIN Mon May 10, 2010 5:09am EDT

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BERLIN May 10 (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who was admitted to a Brussels hospital Saturday after struggling repeatedly with his health in recent weeks, should be released on Monday, Chancellor Angel Merkel said.

"According to my information, he should be released from the hospital today," Merkel said at a news conference in Berlin called to discuss the European Union emergency loan package aimed at preventing a sovereign debt crisis in the euro zone.

"I believe his health has improved greatly," she added.

The 67-year-old Schaeuble, who has been wheelchair-bound since he was shot and nearly killed by a mentally ill man in 1990, missed the Brussels meeting due to an allergic reaction to a new antibiotic, his ministry said.

The setback was the latest in a string of health scares for Schaeuble, one of the most experienced figures in German politics, who is widely seen as having taken a more pro-European line than the chancellor in efforts to stabilise the euro.

Ongoing concerns about his health have forced the government to quell speculation it could have to reshuffle the cabinet to replace Schaeuble. His absence over the weekend has reignited talk that his days in the post may be numbered.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, who deputised for Schaeuble in Brussels, is seen as a possible replacement.

Conservative Hesse state premier Roland Koch, and Juergen Ruettgers, premier in North Rhine-Westphalia, were also tipped as potential candidates by business daily Handelsblatt.

(Reporting by Christopher Lawton; editing by Jason Webb)

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