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German Chancellor Angela Merkel seeks her third term in office as a candidate in the country's federal elections.
Merkel is challenged by former German finance minister Peer Steinbrueck, who was chosen as the opposition Social Democrats' (SPD) candidate for the post of German chancellor on September 28, 2012.
Other SPD candidates, including party leader Sigmar Gabriel and former foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier ran unsuccessfully against Merkel in the 2009 elections. Both agreed to make way for Steinbrueck, who was largely responsible for Germany's reaction to the global financial crisis between 2008 and 2009.
Steinbrueck was Merkel's finance minister during her first four-year term in office starting in 2005, when Germany was governed by a "grand coalition" of Conservatives and Social Democrats.