Published: Tue, October 30, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

MERKEL MOVES ON: German Chancellor Announces She WILL NOT Seek Re-Election

MERKEL MOVES ON: German Chancellor Announces She WILL NOT Seek Re-Election

Merkel told reporters in Berlin that, after leading the CDU for 18 years, she felt "today it is time to start a new chapter".

Ranging from loyal allies to fierce critics, there's no shortage of possible contenders to succeed Germany's Angela Merkel as head of the centre-right CDU party in December and secure a shot at succeeding her as chancellor.

The leader of the Greens, the party that exceeded its own expectations in Hesse and Bavaria, Annalena Baerbock, also expressed her gratitude for having Merkel as the CDU leader.

Merkel said she took took responsibility for CDU's poor results in state elections since previous year.

Merkel is under pressure from her Social Democrat coalition partners to deliver more policy results and the center-left party could yet pull out of the government at a mid-term review next year.

Sunday's blow for Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democrats (SPD) in Hesse was the latest state poll marred by the image of the right-left "grand coalition" government limping from crisis to crisis at a federal level.

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 CSU also suffered a setback in Sunday's Hesse elections.

"Angela Merkel has made a noble decision, a right decision, a strong decision", he stated.

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.

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After speculation by media and politicians alike around why the chancellor made the announcement, Ms. Merkel said she had chose to signal that she had heard the message voters were sending.

Merkel's decision does not mean she will cease to be Germany's leader in December.

"This may be one reason why Merkel sticks around a bit longer", Campbell said.

Merkel herself has said in the past that the chancellor should also be the leader of the ruling party.

Potential successors include Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, General Secretary of the CDU; Jens Spahn, Health Minister; Armin Laschet, Prime Minister of North-Rhine-Westphalia; Julia Klöckner, Agriculture Minister; Daniel Günther, Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein and Friedrich Merz, former Merkel rival, now inactive. "Maybe, it will be good for the CDU if a new boss comes, but it would be good for Germany if a new leader took over the government", Lindner said.

But despite her assurance that she would step down in 2021, some doubt she could even make it to the end of her term. The Social Democrats, or SPD, had its worst loss since 1946.

Kramp-Karrenbauer is eight years younger than Merkel and - just like Merkel - stands for the party's moderate wing.

"We do not know who will come after Merkel and what policy will be continued after Merkel". The Social Democrats, who are part of her government's coalition, were also down in this last election. It remains to be seen whether leadership changes in Germany's two big tent parties can address their ebbing support in a changing political landscape, as voters head to the Greens or the AfD.

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