German defense minister resigns to pursue EU’s top job

Ursula von der Leyen

German Defense Minister and candidate for European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gives a statement next to new elected President of the European Parliament David Sassoli after their meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Wednesday, July 10, 2019. European Parliament groups are grilling the German candidate for European Commission president before they take a vote on her appointment next week. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

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BERLIN (AP) — German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen says she is resigning from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet to focus on becoming the next head of the European Commission, the top job in the European Union.

Von der Leyen tweeted Monday that “tomorrow I will ask for the confidence of the European Parliament. Regardless of the outcome, I will step down as Minister of Defence on Wednesday in order to serve Europe with all my strength.”

The EU parliament is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to confirm her as European Commission president.

Von der Leyen, 60, was the surprise last-minute compromise candidate nominated by the leaders of EU nations earlier this month to replace Jean-Claude Juncker.

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