German conservatives choosing Berlin mayor candidate

A conservative high-flyer who once opposed making Berlin the capital of reunified Germany will run for mayor of the city later this year, his party announced Monday. Local leaders of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats voted unanimously for Friedbert Pflueger to head their list of candidates in the September 17 election for the state legislature, Berlin party chief Ingo Schmitt said. Merkel heads a coalition of her party and the center-left Social Democrats at federal level. But conservatives face a tough task to unseat Social Democrat incumbent Klaus Wowereit in Berlin, who leads a coalition with the Left Party.

Pflueger, 50, a deputy defense minister in the federal government, is a rising star in his party and a close ally of Merkel. He began his political career in West Berlin on the staff of a former conservative mayor in the 1980s.

However the Hanover native, as a lawmaker in the parliament of the former West Germany, voted in 1991 against moving the capital from Bonn to Berlin after reunification, reports the AP.

D.M.