BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday that she would never govern with support from Germany’s hard-left opposition Left party, an option that two of her would-be successors have refused to rule out ahead of the country’s national election in September.

Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, Merkel welcomed positive comments by her current vice chancellor Olaf Scholz about their current governing coalition. Scholz, who is also Germany’s finance minister, is the center-left Social Democrats’ candidate to succeed Merkel in the Sept. 26 vote. Of late, he has tried to portray himself as her natural successor, even though he belongs to a different party.

“With me as German chancellor, there would never be a coalition in which the Left party would participate,” said Merkel, who announced in 2018 that she wouldn’t seek a fifth four-year term. “Whether this (view) is shared by Olaf Scholz remains open.”

“In that regard it’s simply there case that there is a huge difference between him and me when it comes to Germany’s future,” she added.

The Left is partly rooted in East Germany’s ruling communist party, dislikes NATO and opposes German military deployments abroad. Critics accuse it of being too close to authoritarian countries such as Russia and Venezuela.

Merkel’s center-right Union bloc, whose candidate Armin Laschet is struggling to gain traction with voters according to recent polls, has tried to raise the specter of a future left-wing coalition government between the Social Democrats, the environmentalist Greens and the Left.

Both the Social Democrats and the Greens have expressed reservations about the Left’s foreign policy, but haven’t categorically ruled out a coalition at the national level. Similar so-called “red-red-green” alliances govern the German states of Berlin, Bremen and Thuringia.