German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer addresses the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, during a session on MArch 23, 2018 in Berlin. / AFP / John MACDOUGALL
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Merkel appointed Seehofer, who leads her conservative Bavarian allies, to her cabinet as interior minister under a coalition deal struck earlier this month.Seehofer, who leads the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has long been a thorn in the chancellor's side -- especially over immigration and the role of migrants in Germany.But whereas he was not in the last government, he now leads the powerful interior ministry, restyled to include a 'homeland' portfolio -- a ploy widely seen as being aimed at winning back voters lost to the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD).Seehofer is concerned that his CSU will lose ground to the AfD in a regional election in October in Bavaria, where refugees flooded across the border during Europe's 2015 migrant crisis.
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