German Leader Merkel Decides to Step Down in 2021 over Election Setbacks
The German leader is also not going to run for reelection as party leader at the CDU congress in December 2018.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced she is not going to seek another term after her present one expires in 2021, and she is not going to run for reelection as leader of her conservative CDU party in December.
Merkel has chaired Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) since 2000, and is presently in her fourth four-year term as Chancellor of the most populous EU member state, a position she first took in 2005.
“I will not be seeking any political post after my term ends,” she told a news conference in Berlin on Monday, as cited by DW.
Merkel’s announcement comes a day after her party CDU did unconvincingly in Sunday’s election in the Central West German state of Hesse despite winning, and after earlier in October 2018 the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, the CSU, suffered a similar fate in Bavaria’s election.
Merkel presently rules Germany as the head of a grand right – left coalition cabinet, in which the CDU/CSU alliance partners with the mainstream socialists from the SPD.
The formation of the cabinet itself took weeks of negotiations following Germany’s general election in September 2017.
The SPD’s recent election failures in Bavaria and Hesse have been far more shocking than the declines seen by Merkel’s conservatives, underscoring a trend in which smaller parties are gaining traction across Germany. Those include the Greens but also the populist far right Alternative for Germany (AfD).
In her address on Monday, Merkel declared she took “full responsibility” for the questionable electoral CDU/CSU.
She also vowed not to handpick the person who would succeed her as leader of the Christian Democrats at the upcoming party congress in December.
“I will accept any democratic decision taken by my party,” she declared.
“I do know this hasn’t been done before, it is unprecedented, but I believe it offers far more opportunities than risks for the country, for the German government and for my party,” the 64-year-old German Chancellor added.
Merkel’s decision in favor of what amounts to a farewell to German politics is in line with her insistence that the chancellorship and party leadership must go hand-in-hand.
She stated she had made the decision not to seek re-election as CDU leader even before the summer vacation of the German parliament.
The most likely bidders for Merkel’s job as head of the Christian Democrats include CDU Secretary General Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Health Minister Jens Spahn, and former CDU/CSU parliamentary leader Friedrich Merz.
“The time has come to open a new chapter,” Merkel declared, while insisting she would not be taking up any other political positions, and wishing to dispel any rumors she might pursue a post in the European Union.
(Banner image: TV grab from DW)