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German FM Set to Resign as Party Chief

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TEHRAN, April 4 (ICANA) – The German foreign minister says he would quit as party chief of the Free Democrats (FDP) next month, a move that would sap his power in the coalition government.
Monday, April 04, 2011 1:32:05 PM
German FM Set to Resign as Party Chief

Guido Westerwelle, whose party in the coalition government led by Chancellor Angela Merkel suffered three damaging defeats in state elections in the past few days, emphasized that, however, he would stay on as the country's foreign minister, AFP reported.

"After 10 years as party chairman, I will no longer stand for the office at the next party congress in May," said Westerwelle, adding that "I will focus on my work as foreign minister and I will continue to work with all my strength for the success of the liberals, for the success of the FDP."

The pressure mounted on Westerwelle last month after the FDP failed to clear the five-percent hurdle for representation in two state elections and fared poorly in regional elections in southwestern state of Baden-Wurttemberg.

Westerwelle has not named his successor yet, but Health Minister Philipp Roesler and FDP General Secretary Christian Lindner are among possible candidates to take the helm of the leadership of the ailing party.

Public support for Free Democrats took a further lashing after the party joined forces with Merkel's coalition 18 months ago under intense wrangling in government over healthcare, energy and tax policy.

According to a new poll released on Friday, 69 percent of voters pinned the bulk of the blame on Westerwelle for the FDP's disastrous results in recent regional elections.

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