Merkel's ally rules out teaming up with challenger

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Associated Press

Posted on September 12, 2013 at 2:30 AM

Updated Thursday, Sep 12 at 2:33 AM

BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel's junior coalition partners are ruling out teaming up with her center-left rivals as they seek to motivate supporters ahead of Germany's elections.

The pro-market Free Democrats joined Merkel's government when her second term began in 2009, a center-right alliance of traditional allies. Polls show only a wafer-thin majority for the coalition.

The Free Democrats could conceivably offer center-left challenger Peer Steinbrueck a route to power if they teamed up with him instead.

But the party, whose supporters lean right and which has been struggling in polls ahead of the Sept. 22 election, planned to formally rule out that possibility Thursday.

Leading Free Democrat Rainer Bruederle told the Rheinische Post newspaper that his party "is not a fig leaf" for Steinbrueck's alliance of Social Democrats and Greens.

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