Angela Merkel asks close ally to move roles so he can steer parliamentary debate after electoral success of rightwing AfD

Wolfgang Schäuble, a man revered and reviled in equal measure for his tenacious austerity economics, is to relinquish his powerful role as Germany’s finance minister and instead become the speaker of the parliament, his party has announced.

Schäuble, 75, was asked to take on the role by the chancellor, Angela Merkel, who is keen on someone with authority and experience to steer future debate in the Bundestag following the success in Sunday’s election of the rightwing radical Alternative für Deutschland.

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