Angela Merkel will not seek re-election as chair of Germany’s ruling CDU party, effectively standing down as leader of the Christian Democratic Union, a post she has held for 18 years, after a disastrous performance by her party in regional elections in the German state of Hesse on Sunday badly dented her authority, and followed an ultimatum by her junior coalition partner, the SPD which also suffered a devastating loss in latest elections.
According to Spiegel and Bild, Merkel, who has chaired the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) since 2000, was expected to compete again at the party congress in Hamburg in early December. however in what many are calling “the end of an era” during which her command of Germany put its stamp on Europe and beyond for more than a decade, on Monday morning she told senior party executives that she would not stand again.
Merkel is scheduled to speak to the media at 1 p.m. local time on Berlin.
The Chancellor will reportedly retire after the end of her current term in 2021, which will give the CDU time to groom a successor. Though she remains one of Germany’s most popular politicians, her fellow Christian Democrats have long been demanding that she clear a path for her successor. After leaving German politics, Merkel has reportedly said she won’t consider any EU-wide posts.
As we reported on Sunday, the CDU won the election in Hesse, but its share of the vote fell by more than 11 points, while the junior partner in her governing grand coalition, the Social Democrats, also slumped. The party’s poor showing reignited calls for the SPD to quit the government.