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German Chancellor and Chairwomen of the CDU, Angela Merkel, gestures after her speech as part of a general party conference of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Essen, Germany, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Merkel wants to secure the backing of her conservative party to head up the party's campaign for next September's election. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
German Chancellor and Chairwomen of the CDU, Angela Merkel, gestures after her speech as part of a general party conference of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Essen, Germany, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Merkel wants to secure the backing of her conservative party to head up the party's campaign for next September's election. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Merkel: German government won't collapse over spy chief

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BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel says a dispute over the future of Germany's domestic intelligence chief won't bring down her coalition government.

Merkel's conservatives run Germany in a coalition with the center-left Social Democrats, who on Thursday demanded the removal of domestic spy chief Hans-Georg Maassen over much-criticized comments about recent far-right protests in the eastern city of Chemnitz. Coalition leaders have deferred a decision on Maassen's future until Tuesday.

Merkel said during a visit to Lithuania Friday: "As important as the position of the president (of the BfV intelligence agency) is, it is also clear that the coalition is not going to break up over the question of the president of a subordinate agency."

The argument follows anti-migrant protests in Chemnitz after the killing late last month of a German man.

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