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Mayor of 'poor but sexy' Berlin to step down early

BERLIN--Berlin's embattled mayor Klaus Wowereit, who famously dubbed his city “poor but sexy” and presided over its rise as an arts and party capital, said Tuesday he would step down in December.

Wowereit, who has led Berlin since 2001, had once been seen as a potential Social Democratic challenger to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

But his star rapidly tarnished in recent years due to a fiasco surrounding a planned international airport.

“There was a lot of speculation recently about how long the mayor would stay in office. Two years before the term is up, this was not helpful and did a lot of damage,” he told reporters, saying he would leave office on December 11.

It was not immediately clear who would replace him.

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