August 27, 2017 / 1:18 PM / a year ago

Schaeuble won't say whether he'll be finance minister after vote

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble declined to comment on speculation about whether he would stay in his position after the Sept. 24 election, telling a group of open house visitors on Sunday that no decisions would be made until after the vote.

FILE PHOTO: German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble attends at an event of his CDU party's economic council (Wirtschaftsrat) in Berlin, Germany, June 27, 2017. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo

Schaueble, who will turn 75 on Sept. 18, has been finance minister since 2009 and a member of parliament since 1972.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats are leading the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) by about 15 percentage points in opinion polls and are the heavy favorites to retain power after the election.

“I’m not going to talk about what’s going to happen after the election,” Schaeuble said. He said he hoped to win his seat in parliament in the Offenburg district of Baden-Wuerttemberg state - for a 13th straight time. He won 56 percent in 2013.

“We’ll have to wait and see what the voters decide in four weeks,” he added. “And then we’ll talk about who will take which position.”

Schaeuble has nevertheless been talking at length in recent months about budget plans after the election. In July, he said in a radio interview there could be room to cut taxes by more than the 15 billion euros already announced.

Under Schaeuble, Germany has had balanced budgets since 2014 and the government plans to have no new borrowing in its planning through 2021. Schaeuble told Deutschlandfunk radio in July he hoped there could be tax relief beyond that already promised 15 billion euro income tax cut.

Reporting by Erik Kirschbaum, editing by David Evans

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