Merkel to stand down as CDU leader, stay German Chancellor

German governing parties punished in state election

German governing parties punished in state election

German chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition partner, the centre-left SPD party, has said it might quit government after another drubbing in a regional election.

"It is time today for me to start a new chapter", Merkel told reporters in Berlin.

BERLIN-Germany's governing parties lost significant support in a state election Sunday that was marked by discontent with infighting in Chancellor Angela Merkel's national government and prompted calls for her administration to get its act together quickly.

Stepping down as CDU chairwoman further undermines Merkel's authority, which has been dented this year by the two regional election setbacks and a close ally losing his role as leader of her conservatives' parliamentary group.

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.

She told a closed Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leadership meeting on Monday morning that she would not run as its chair in December, Deutsche Welle and Bloomberg reported. The CDU is due to elect a new party chair at the conference in December.

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

She allowed in large numbers of asylum seekers in 2015, declaring "we will manage it", before gradually pivoting to a more restrictive approach.

Merkel is largely blamed by her political opponents for the current immigration crisis sweeping Europe after she unveiled her "open door" policy; accepting a large number of migrants from Syria, the Middle East, and Africa.




The rise of populism in Europe is directly attributable to Merkel and European Union leadership.

"With these latest results, it has simply become untenable that Merkel continues to lead the CDU", said Mujtaba Rahman, managing director at Eurasia Group, a consultancy.

Christian Lindner, the head of the pro-business Free Democratic Party, said that Ms. Merkel dropped the wrong post, implying she should step down as chancellor, amid criticism of the sclerotic grand coalition between the CDU and the Social Democrats, or SPD. According to "multiple media reports", Merkel announced her intention to retire as the chief of the CDU.

The announcement will end her 18-year run as the leader of Germany's mainstream conservative party. That would be the worst result in the region for the Social Democrats since World War II.

She said the SPD would now lay out a "roadmap" in Berlin demanding concrete progress on key issues by next October, including pension rights and better childcare, before deciding whether to remain in the coalition. "I won't seek any further political offices".

The end of the long love affair with the CDU no doubt began in 2015 and 2016, when Ms. Merkel welcomed a million migrants, majority Syrians, as a humanitarian gesture.

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.

The new party boss will be a candidate for the next head of the German government, while early elections are not rule out, Deutsche Welle writes on Monday.

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