Germany's opposition leader to donate kidney to sick wife

Germany's opposition leader to donate kidney to sick wife

Social Democratic Party leader Steinmeier told journalists here that he has no plans to retire from politics and he will be back in his office sometime in October. The 54-year-old floor leader of the SPD in the Bundestag, Lower House of Parliament, said his wife Elke Buedenbender is suffering from acute kidney failure and she urgently needed a transplant.

"If a donor kidney is not found, I myself will become a donor", he said. Buedenbender, a judge at a regional court in Berlin, has been waiting for a long time for a donor kidney and her ailment had deteriorated in the past weeks, he said.

Steinmeier's duties in his absence will be carried out by his deputy Joachim Poss. Steinmeier, who was deputy chancellor and foreign minister in the former "grand coalition" between the SPD and Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), became the opposition leader in the Bundestag after his party was defeated in the general elections last September.

Chancellor Merkel and other senior German politicians expressed their admiration and respect for Steinmeier's decision. Merkel telephoned Steinmeier yesterday to wish him well, a government spokesman said.

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