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Merkel's Bavarian allies hold congress without German leader

Associated Press Associated Press 4/11/2016
Bavarian State Governor and Chairman of German Christian Social Union party, CSU, Horst Seehofer, gestures during his speech at a party convention of the German Christian Social Union, CSU, in Munich, Germany, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader) © The Associated Press Bavarian State Governor and Chairman of German Christian Social Union party, CSU, Horst Seehofer, gestures during his speech at a party convention of the German Christian Social Union, CSU, in Munich, Germany, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel's often-awkward Bavarian conservative allies are doing without a traditional visit from the German leader to their annual congress following a months-long standoff over policy toward refugees.

The Christian Social Union is the Bavaria-only sister party to Merkel's Christian Democratic Union. CSU leader Horst Seehofer, Bavaria's governor, criticized Merkel's welcoming approach to migrants last year and is still calling for an annual cap of 200,000 on newcomers — a call Merkel rejects.

Seehofer publicly lectured Merkel at last year's CSU congress. As the parties patch up relations ahead of next year's national election, the two leaders agreed Merkel wouldn't travel to Munich this time.

Seehofer said Friday it would be "a serious political mistake" to air differences onstage again, and concentrated largely on attacking the conservatives' left-wing opponents.

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