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Von der Leyen to step down as German defense minister to pursue top job in EU

Germany's Ursula von der Leyen hopes to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker and become the first female European Commission president. [AFP Photo]

Germany's says she will step down as defence minister on Wednesday, irrespective of the success of her bid. On Tuesday, the European Parliament will vote on whether to appoint von der Leyen to succeed commission President on November 1, after EU leaders nominated her for the role.

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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