The Latest: Merkel’s partners choose left-leaning leadership

International

BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on leadership of Germany’s Social Democrats (all times local):

6:15 p.m.

Members of Germany’s junior governing party have chosen Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Eskenn as its new co-leaders, a decision that raises new questions about the future of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government.

The left-leaning duo beat the rival team of Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Klara Geywitz in a runoff ballot of the Social Democrats’ members.

Results released Saturday showed that Scholz and Geywitz won 53% support. Their appointment still needs the formal approval of a party congress next week.

While Scholz and Geywitz favored staying in the “grand coalition” led by the center-right Merkel, Walter-Borjans and Esken have sounded much more skeptical and advocated changes to the coalition agreement.

Walter-Borjans is a former finance minister of Germany’s most populous state, while Esken is a federal lawmaker.

___

1:15 p.m.

Germany’s junior governing party is set to announce the results of a ballot on its new leadership. Its outcome could help determine whether the center-left Social Democrats stay in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government.

The Social Democrats have been without an elected leader since Andrea Nahles quit in frustration nearly six months ago. The party decided to ask its 426,000-strong membership who should take on the task of pulling it out of a lengthy poll slump.

On Saturday it will announce who won a runoff ballot between two would-be leadership duos.

Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz and partner Klara Geywitz favor staying in the “grand coalition” led by the center-right Merkel. Rivals Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Esken have sounded much more skeptical and advocated changes to the coalition agreement.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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