FILE -- in this Tuesday, June 12, 2018 photo Friedrich Merz attends a meeting of the economic council of the Chistian Democratic Party in Berlin, Germany. Merz lost his post as the party's parliamentary leader to Merkel in 2002 and has been absent from front-line politics in recent years. (Jens Buettner/dpa via AP)

Party job contender downplays tension with Germany's Merkel

October 31, 2018 - 9:17 am

BERLIN (AP) — A onetime rival of Chancellor Angela Merkel who is running for her party's leadership after a decade-long absence from front-line politics is downplaying potential tensions with the German leader.

Friedrich Merz, 62, is one of three high-profile candidates vying to become leader of the center-right Christian Democratic Union. Merkel announced on Monday that she will give up the party's leadership after 18 years in December but plans to remain chancellor.

Merz led the party's parliamentary group when it was in opposition, a job that Merkel pushed him out of in 2002. Many observers struggle to see the pair working well together now.

Merz dismissed such concerns Wednesday, saying: "I am firmly convinced that Angela Merkel and I, under these changed circumstances, will manage and get along with each other."

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