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German Chancellor and leader of the conservative Christian Democratic Union party CDU Angela Merkel and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble (R) attend the CDU party convention in Essen, Germany, December 7, 2016. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach


BERLIN (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives should retain the finance ministry in any future coalition government with the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) to preserve the policy of a balanced budget.

"I would like to see the finance ministry remain with us," Volker Kauder, parliamentary floor leader of Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) told Spiegel magazine in an interview.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who has agreed to step down after the Sept. 24 election that weakened Merkel's conservative bloc, often dismissed criticism of his cherished "schwarze Null" (black zero) or balanced budget.

"We need to preserve Schaeuble's legacy," Kauder said. "I am confident that the 'schwarze Null' will be a goal of the Jamaica (coalition)," he added, referring to a possible three-way alliance named after the Caribbean island because its flag is made up of the three parties' colours.

(Reporting by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Michael Nienaber)

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