German chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany,Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016 one day after a truck ran into the crowded Christmas market in Berlin killing several people. (Maurizio Gambarini/dpa via AP)
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Chancellor Angela Merkel already knew that her campaign for a fourth term as Germany's leader will be her most difficult yet.A nationalist party that has assailed Merkel's acceptance of migrants leapt on events in Berlin well before authorities even concluded that the incident was an attack, with a prominent member proclaiming the 12 victims to be "Merkel's dead".Monday's attack also threatened to rekindle tensions between Merkel and Bavarian conservative allies, who have sniped at her migrant policies and demanded a cap on the number of newcomers Germany will accept, and whose supporters are an important source of votes. A suspect in the truck attack, who was arrested Monday night and denies involvement, came from Pakistan and registered as an asylum-seeker in Germany last year. Merkel herself has sought to strike a conservative tone lately, telling her party that she's determined to prevent a repeat of last year's influx of 890,000 migrants and that she backs a partial ban on face-covering veils.That suggests Merkel could still struggle to maintain conservative unity during next year's campaign.
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