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Ex-health minister tapped to lead Austrian opposition

BERLIN (AP) — Austria’s main opposition party is set to make a former health minister its new leader after ex-Chancellor Christian Kern announced his departure.

The Austria Press Agency reported that Kern said Saturday that the center-left Social Democrats’ top leadership unanimously endorsed Pamela Rendi-Wagner, a 47-year-old doctor. She will be the first woman to lead the party. A party meeting Tuesday will formally nominate her as chairwoman.

Rendi-Wagner is a relative newcomer, having joined the party only 1½ years ago.

Kern announced last week he was stepping down to become the party’s top candidate in next year’s European Parliament election.

Kern became party leader and chancellor in May 2016, then opposition leader last December after conservative leader Sebastian Kurz formed a coalition government with the far-right Freedom Party.

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