Merkel Will Step Down As Chancellor In 2021

Merkel Will Step Down As Chancellor In 2021

She also said she would stand down as chancellor once the current legislative term ends in 2021. Social Democrat challenger Thorsten Schaefer-Guembel says "we are experiencing a crisis of confidence - that has a lot to do with the fact that too much waffling is going on and too little being done".

The move means the party will have to find a new leader in December.

Heiner Bremer, a German political commentator, said Ms. Merkel was unlikely herself to nominate someone to follow in her shoes but would be more likely to pass on such recommendations via politicians within the party who enjoy more support.

In 2002, she pushed him out of his position as CDU parliamentary leader to cement her grip on the party, on her way to becoming chancellor in 2005.

In Hesse, both her centre-right CDU and its coalition partners, the Social Democrats, were 10% down on the previous poll there - even though they remain in power.

She has also said this will be her final parliamentary term as German chancellor, according to reports.

Taking a decisive step towards the end of her political career, the veteran leader who has led Germany for 13 years said she hoped her planned departure would end bitter fighting in her coalition and finally focus it on its task of governing Europe's biggest economy.

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Merkel's 13 years in power have piled up baggage from repeated compromise-laden "grand coalitions" with the SPD, as well as a fateful 2015 decision to keep Germany's borders open, ultimately allowing in more than one million migrants. Merkel's chief spokesman Steffen Seibert said she intends to see out her full term. Her fourth-term government took office only in March but has become notorious for squabbling.

Merkel made the announcement on the day after Sunday's vote in Hesse in a speech to mark the 20th anniversary of the German Federal Government Commission for Culture and the Media (BKM). In any case, she said the party's loss of support was too severe to brush off. Helmut Schmidt, West Germany's chancellor from 1974 to 1982, never led the Social Democrats.

She has also ruled out running for a fifth term as chancellor in 2021.

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. Merkel's party managed an unimpressive win in Hesse, narrowly salvaging a majority for its regional governing coalition with the Greens in the state.

Andrea Nahles, leader of the Social Democrats, on Sunday demanded a "clear, binding timetable" for implementing government projects before the coalition faces an already-agreed midterm review next fall. Nahles' comments show the SPD will put more pressure on the conservatives to deliver policy results for the center-left party.

Known as the "mini-Merkel", 56-year-old Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer - former state premier of tiny Saarland - is a loyal follower of the chancellor's centrist line that has shaped CDU and German politics over the past two decades.