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Germany's troubled SPD names new justice minister

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BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s troubled Social Democrats (SPD) have nominated a new justice minister to take over from Katarina Barley who has left to become a lawmaker in the European Parliament, sources in the centre-left party said on Wednesday.

Christine Lambrecht, who serves as a deputy finance minister, will have to be formally appointed to her new role by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and presented to the Bundestag (lower house of parliament).

The SPD, junior coalition partners in conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel’s right-left “grand” coalition, suffered painful losses in the European Parliament elections last month and their popularity has sunk to a record low.

SPD leader Andrea Nahles resigned earlier this month, raising the risk that the SPD could pull out of Merkel’s coalition and plunge Germany into a political crisis.

Merkel, who has been in power for 14 years, has said she would step down when her final term ends in 2021 but there are mounting doubts she will see through her tenure.

The SPD have appointed three caretakers to run the party until they decide how and when to elect a new leader.

(Reporting by Holger Hansen; Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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