German leader dismisses talk of early retirement

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel has dismissed speculation that she might step down before the end of her third term if re-elected next month.

Merkel says she wants to head the government “for four years” and left open the possibility that she might stand again in 2017.

The comments in an interview with public TV broadcaster ZDF on Sunday appeared intended to quash speculation that Merkel, 59, would retire early to pave the way for a successor.

Germany’s first female chancellor also played down talk of a revival of the grand coalition from her first term, when Merkel’s conservatives ruled the country together with the Social Democrats.

Her finance minister at the time, Peer Steinbrueck, is Merkel’s main rival in the Sept. 22 general election.

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