German MP predicts Merkel could be ousted end of next week

Germany's interior minister, Horst Seehofer, has signalled he is open to giving Angela Merkel more time to reach a deal with Germany's European Union partners over an asylum row that has threatened to bring down her government.

Angela Merkel's leadership is under threat after her alliance partner gave her two weeks to agree to turn away refugees at Germany's borders.

Seehofer and Merkel have long had an awkward relationship.

The CSU under Seehofer has demanded that Germany should be able to reject migrants at the border of the countryi f they have no identity papers, are registered in another country, or have been refused refugee status previously, but Merkel believes turning them away udermine the EU's open borders Schengen Area.

Merkel's handling of the migrant crisis, which has resulted in the arrival of more than 1.6 million people since 2014, is widely blamed for a rise in support for the far-right Alternative for Germany, which entered parliament after a September election.

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But doing so would bring down her government and her own political career would nearly certainly be over.

In this Wednesday, June 13, 2018 photo, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, talks to Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, left, prior to the weekly cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin.

From January to May, about 78,000 people sought asylum in Germany compared with 90,000 a year ago, the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper said Saturday, citing Interior Ministry data. He favors stronger screening of refugees' possible terrorist connections and speeding up deportations of failed asylum seekers, according to Focus Online.

The CSU's top priority is a hard October state election in Bavaria in which it is trying to tamp down support for the anti-migration Alternative for Germany party. The AfD that swept into Parliament past year on a wave of anti-migrant sentiment is staging a march Sunday through the heart of Berlin to protest against the government.

Seehofer plans to hold a press conference in Munich on Monday following a meeting of CSU leaders on migration, Reuters reported. The issue has escalated into a high-stakes power struggle.

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If Seehofer decides to go it alone, Merkel would have to fire him, sparking an unprecedented CDU-CSU split, political scientist Heinrich Oberreuter told business daily Handelsblatt.

Merkel has asked the Bavarian conservatives to give her two weeks to come up with bilateral deals with some countries, like Italy and Greece, similar to one agreed between Turkey and the European Union in 2016.

Macron offered his backing to Merkel, telling reporters: "Countries are committed to the paths taken by their heads of state or government".

The fake news was quickly debunked as originating from satirical magazine Titanic, but not before it had been picked up by some major media, causing immediate dips in the euro and stock market.

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