Close ally of German Chancellor Merkel congratulates Social Democrats

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German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, a close ally of outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel, has congratulated the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Free Democrats on their showing in Sunday’s election, which produced a severe loss for his own centre-right party. The conservatives do not have a mandate to pursue coalition talks, he said on broadcaster RTL/ntv. “We congratulate those who gained votes in this election,” he added. He said the right to form a government was not “God-given” but that his Christian Democrats would “not shirk its political responsibilities.” Merkel herself has not co…

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