Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Angela Merkel won't seek re-election as CDU party leader - German media

German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces another major blow as Germans go to the polls in Hesse German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces another major blow as Germans go to the polls in Hesse Credit AP
Jay Anderson | 30 October, 2018, 05:08

News agency dpa cited unidentified party sources who said that she is prepared to step down as party leader but remain as chancellor for now.

Angela Merkel told her conservative party on Monday that she is prepared to step down as its leader but remain Germany's chancellor following a pair of state election debacles.

Merkel, who is 64, has served as chancellor since 2005. Ms. Kramp-Karrenbauer, known as AKK within the CDU, led Saarland as premier for the past seven years.

Speaking about her dissatisfaction with the coalition, Merkel said: "Firstly, at the next CDU party congress in December in Hamburg, I will not put myself forward again as a candidate for the CDU chair". These include the CDU and its partner in the southern state of Bavaria, the Christian Social Union, or CSU.

Her proposal did little to appease the head of the SPD's youth wing, who said the election in Hesse was a clear signal that the ruling coalition was not viable. Her current coalition began its leadership in March after six months of hard political negotiations. Merkel said that she took "full responsibility" for the outcome of the election.

Merkel standing down from the party chair would allow a new CDU chairman or chairwoman to build a profile before the next national election. The SPD also suffered losses.

Preliminary final results showed both of the formerly dominant parties being hit with losses of around 11 percentage points in Hesse, western Germany, compared with the last election in 2013, although the CDU still claimed first place with 27 percent of the vote.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that she will be stepping down as chancellor when her term ends in 2021.




Merkel's decision appears to mark the beginning of the end of her 13-year dominance of European politics. Merkel's one-time mentor, Helmut Kohl, did seek a fifth term in 1998 and lost power after 16 years.

With her announcement, she indicated she has no intention of shirking from the "major foreign policy challenges" ahead, suggesting by taking the question of her future out of the picture her often rancorous coalition might govern better.

Speaking on October 15, Merkel admitted that voters had lost trust in the government.

Supporters of the nationalist Alternative for Germany AfD celebrate after the state election in the German state of Hesse in Wiesbaden, Germany, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018.

"With this decision, I am trying to make a contribution which enables the German government to finally concentrate its efforts on good governance, something people demand and rightly so".

That means Germany has lost some of its authority on the European stage just when the bloc faces some tough challenges including Brexit negotiations, an increasingly assertive Russian Federation and a more protectionist United States.

Merkel has dragged the CDU to the political centre in her years as leader, dropping military conscription, introducing benefits encouraging fathers to look after their young children, and abruptly accelerating the shutdown of Germany's nuclear power plants following Japan's Fukushima disaster in 2011. Numerous arrivals were fleeing fighting in Syria.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer heads the Christian Social Union, the Bavaria-only sister party to Merkel's Christian Democratic Union.

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