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Germany's Social Democrats Elect New Party Chief

The party of outgoing German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has elected a new leader.

Brandenberg State leader Matthias Platzeck will be the Social Democratic Party's first leader from the former communist East Germany.

A close ally of Mr. Schroeder, the 51-year-old Mr. Platzeck was elected by an overwhelming margin at Tuesday's party congress.

The party's former leader, Franz Muentefering, did not seek re-election.

Mr. Platzeck's election comes one day after the center-left Social Democrats and the conservative Christian Democratic Union of Chancellor-designate Angela Merkel approved a deal to create a coalition government. That cleared the way for parliament to elect her as Germany's first female leader.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.