Potential ally urges Merkel to give up finance ministry

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German Chancellor and chairwoman of the German Christian Democratic Party (CDU), Angela Merkel, attends a press conference at the party's headquarter in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 one day after the elections in the German state of Lower Saxony. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

BERLIN (AP) — A key potential ally in Germany’s next government is insisting that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party shouldn’t keep the finance ministry because that gives her too much power.

Exploratory talks on a potential coalition of Merkel’s conservatives, the pro-business Free Democrats and traditionally left-leaning Greens start this week. Merkel’s current partners, the center-left Social Democrats, vowed to go into opposition after last month’s election.

Outgoing Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, a member of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, has been a powerful figure for the past eight years. He’s leaving to become parliament speaker.

The Free Democrats’ leader, Christian Lindner, told Tuesday’s edition of the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that “anything would be better than keeping the chancellery and the finance ministry in the CDU’s hands … that has not stood the test.”