Report: German businessman to oppose Merkel as party leader

BERLIN (AP) — A German businessman reportedly plans a long-shot challenge to Chancellor Angela Merkel as leader of the country’s main conservative party.

Andreas Ritzenhoff, the owner of a company that makes aluminum products, told the Funke newspaper group Wednesday that the Christian Democratic Union needs “new political aims” and a “change of direction.”

Merkel, Germany’s chancellor since 2005 and CDU leader since 2000, has indicated she will likely seek a new two-year term at the party’s helm at a congress in December.

Her authority has been weakened recently by constant squabbling in her fourth-term government and the ouster last week of a close ally as the conservatives’ parliamentary leader.

However, there’s no sign of any heavyweight challenger. Alongside Ritzenhoff, law student Jan-Philipp Knoop has said he plans to challenge Merkel.

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