BERLIN Bavarian interior minister Joachim Herrmann called on Friday for deportation of migrants denied asylum in Germany to crisis zones like Afghanistan and other measures, signs of a widening rift between Angela Merkel and her conservative allies in Bavaria.
Herrmann's arch-conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) is upping pressure on Chancellor Merkel ahead of next year's federal election after embarrassing election results that showed huge gains for the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD).
The Bild newspaper quoted Herrmann as saying he advocated the repatriation of people from northern areas of Afghanistan and other crisis areas who had been denied asylum, something that Merkel's government has previously declined to do.
Herrmann also called for the creation of transit centres at Germany's borders, where migrants who enter the country without passports or other identifying papers could be detained.
"Someone whose identity cannot be satisfactorily verified should not be allowed to roam around Germany. Those who arrive without papers and cannot prove their identity must be detained, and potentially sent back," Herrmann said.
Herrmann spoke out in favour of a legally binding limit on the number of migrants allowed to enter Germany and the abolition of dual citizenship, a key demand included in a five-page paper approved by CSU leaders over the weekend.
The Bavarian-based CSU and Merkel's CDU form a parliamentary bloc and agree on a joint candidate for the chancellorship.
CSU leader Horst Seehofer has not yet endorsed Merkel and Sunday's regional election defeat prompted speculation that she may not stand for a fourth term. Her popularity has waned in the last year due to her handling of the migrant crisis but she is still the only obvious conservative candidate.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Catherine Evans)