Chancellor Angela Merkel's candidate for the governorship of a German state has withdrawn from the race after admitting he had a relationship with a 16-year-old girl.
Forty-year-old Christian von Boetticher was the front-runner for next year's elections in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, representing Merkel's Christian Democratic Union. He withdrew Sunday, saying the relationship was a mistake.
Boetticher said he had been in love with the girl, and in no other relationship. Local media have reported the two met on Facebook.
Boetticher retains his position as a state lawmaker. Merkel's spokesman refused to comment on Monday.