German opposition head begins paternity leave

13th July 2012, Comments 0 comments

The head of Germany's main opposition party and a likely candidate to challenge Angela Merkel for chancellor next year announced on microblogging site Twitter Friday he was starting paternity leave.

"So, now I start my leave. It's Marie's turn now," tweeted Sigmar Gabriel, referring to his daughter who was born in April.

Gabriel, 52, told mass circulation Bild earlier this month that he would be at home with Marie during the week and catch up on meetings at the weekends.

He had previously announced he was taking three months out of politics to enable his partner, dentist Anke Stadler, to return to work.

Gabriel is one of three likely candidates from the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) to challenge Merkel to lead Europe's top economy in an election expected in September or October next year.

German parents can between them take up to 14 months leave after the birth of a child at close to full pay.

A couple can share this time but each must take a minimum of two months, in a policy aimed at getting men to share more of the childcare burden.

© 2012 AFP

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