BERLIN – An often-awkward conservative ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel is stepping down as Bavarian governor in favor of a younger rival, attempting to end a power struggle that has been an unwelcome distraction as Merkel tries to form a new government.
Horst Seehofer has been leader of the Christian Social Union party and Bavaria's governor since 2008. The CSU is the Bavaria-only sister to Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, and one of three parties in Germany's outgoing government.
The 68-year-old Seehofer has been under pressure since the CSU performed poorly in September's German election. A long-running rivalry with Markus Soeder, Bavaria's 50-year-old finance minister, re-erupted.
Thomas Kreuzer, the CSU's top lawmaker in Bavaria, said Monday Seehofer plans to hand the governor's job to Soeder early next year but remain party leader.