Merkel party hit by scandal

German chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats suffered a setback last night when a regional leader was forced to resign over his affair with a 16-year-old girl. Christian von Boetticher announced he was stepping down as chairman of the CDU in Schleswig-Holstein state, in a further blow to Merkel's conservatives. Boetticher had been the designated successor to CDU state premier Peter Harry Carstensen , who is not running in an election in Germany’s northernmost state in May 2012.