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After 13 years as chancellor, Merkel to step down in 2021

“The time has come to open a new chapter,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who announced at a news conference: “I will not be seeking any political post after my term ends.”

Angela Merkel at the 2012 congress of the European People's Party (EPP). Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Angela Merkel at the 2012 congress of the European People's Party (EPP). Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

With her popularity waning, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will step down from her position and as leader of the right-wing CDU party in 2021, having served 18 years as party leader and almost 13 years as chancellor.

“I will not be seeking any political post after my term ends,” she announced at a news conference on Monday.

“As chancellor and leader of the CDU, I’m politically responsible for everything—for successes and for failures,” she said.

“When people are telling us what they think of how the government was formed and what they think of our work during the first seven months of this parliament … then it is a clear signal that things can’t carry on as they are,” she continued. “The time has come to open a new chapter.”

Merkel’s party was heavily weakened in Sunday’s poll in the state of Hesse, contributing to a series of problems for CDU, which has lost voters to the far-right AfD party.

According to preliminary results, the CDU and its national coalition partners, the Social Democrats, trailed by 11 percentage points in the poll to 27 percent—the party’s worst showing in the state, having dominated the area over the last 19 years.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is expected to replaced Merkel as CDU’s chair, although Health Minister Jens Spahn and Friedrich Merz, a former parliamentary leader, also announced their candidacy for the position.

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