Merkel's Bavarian ally expects her to run again for German chancellor

BERLIN Fri Feb 28, 2014 7:21am EST

Bavarian Prime Minister and leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU) Horst Seehofer speaks to the media before a CSU executive committee meeting in Munich February 17, 2014. REUTERS/Lukas Barth

Bavarian Prime Minister and leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU) Horst Seehofer speaks to the media before a CSU executive committee meeting in Munich February 17, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Lukas Barth

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BERLIN (Reuters) - The leader of Angela Merkel's Bavarian sister party Horst Seehofer said he expected the German chancellor to stand for another term, after calls from her other coalition partner to stand down when her second term ends in 2017.

"I have no doubt that Angela Merkel will run again in 2017," Der Spiegel magazine quoted Seehofer, leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), sister party of Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), as saying on Friday.

"We have a very strong chancellor. I feel that every week. I said on her 8-year anniversary as chancellor ... last November that she now had half her time in office behind her."

There have been calls from the Social Democrats (SPD), a partner in Merkel's right-left "grand coalition" government, for the chancellor to step down at the end of this term. She has also been criticized for not grooming a successor.

Last week former Social Democrat chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Merkel's predecessor, said two terms were enough for a German leader and indirectly criticized Merkel for being overly cautious and not showing enough political leadership.

Seehofer also cautioned against Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who is tipped to be aiming for higher office, as a possible successor to Merkel.

"The rule applies: The office must come to the personality, not the personality to the office," Seehofer said.

(Reporting by Annika Breidthardt)

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