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Merkel's challenger pledges quick policy changes

August 29. 2013 5:36AM
Associated Press

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(AP) Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-left challenger is pledging to introduce a national minimum wage and raise taxes for Germany's highest earners if he wins next month's elections.

Polls indicate that Peer Steinbrueck has a daunting hill to climb to oust Merkel, a popular conservative, in the Sept. 22 vote. But he insists nothing has been decided and many voters are undecided.

On Thursday, Steinbrueck presented his priorities for his first 100 days as chancellor. They include a commitment to introduce a mandatory minimum wage of 8.50 euros ($11.35) per hour and raise the income tax rate on top earners to 49 from 42 percent.

His priorities are largely domestic but Steinbrueck also wants to push forward plans for a European banking union.

Associated Press

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