Rebels de­clare a hol­i­day truce

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

MAOIST rebels in the Philip­pines de­clared a cease­fire yes­ter­day for the Christ­mas and New Year hol­i­days, but the gov­ern­ment said it would not be fooled into join­ing the truce.

Guer­ril­las from the Com­mu­nist Party of the Philip­pines have been bat­tling gov­ern­ment forces for 50 years.

Most peo­ple in the Philip­pines are Chris­tian. | CHAN­CEL­LOR An­gela Merkel’s party cel­e­brated her 18 years as its leader with a lengthy stand­ing ova­tion yes­ter­day as it pre­pared to elect a suc­ces­sor who could help shape Ger­many’s po­lit­i­cal di­rec­tion for the next gen­er­a­tion.

A close ally of Merkel’s and a one­time ri­val were con­sid­ered favourites for the lead­er­ship of the cen­tre-right Chris­tian Demo­cratic Union.

Merkel an­nounced in Oc­to­ber she would give up the reins to her party, though she plans to re­main chan­cel­lor un­til her term ends in 2021.

How­ever, it is pos­si­ble that next elec­tion could come ear­lier.

Three high-pro­file con­tenders have spent the last month tour­ing Ger­many to drum up sup­port.

Ma­jor Ger­man par­ties have tended to de­ter­mine their lead­ers without a con­test, and this is the first open com­pe­ti­tion for the CDU lead­er­ship since 1971.

The out­come

is hard



pre­dict, and the race is ex­pected to be close. Who­ever wins will be the favourite to run for chan­cel­lor in the next elec­tion, though that isn’t au­to­matic.

The favourites are CDU gen­eral sec­re­tary An­negret Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer, a Merkel ally who is widely con­sid­ered the chan­cel­lor’s pre­ferred suc­ces­sor and is clos­est to her cen­trist stance; and Friedrich Merz, a for­mer leader of the party’s par­lia­men­tary group who stands for a more con­ser­va­tive ap­proach.

Health Min­is­ter Jens Spahn, an­other Merkel critic, is con­sid­ered the out­sider. At 38, he would rep­re­sent a gen­er­a­tional change. Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer is 56 and Merz 63, only a year younger than the chan­cel­lor.

The choice will be made by 1 001 del­e­gates at a party congress in Ham­burg, many of them pro­fes­sional or part-time politi­cians at fed­eral, re­gional or lo­cal level.

Merkel has been CDU leader since 2000 and chan­cel­lor since 2005. |

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