Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

State election losses further dent Merkel's authority

Germans Are Completely Fed Up Want Change – Ex Diplomat on Elections Germans Are Completely Fed Up Want Change – Ex Diplomat on Elections
Lisa Bryan | 30 October, 2018, 05:11

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday she is ready to hand over the leadership of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) later this year, according to multiple media reports, offering the clearest indication to date that her time at the helm of Europe's largest economy is running out.

She announced her decision the day after voters punished both her CDU and the Social Democrats in an election in the central state of Hesse. The chancellor of Germany is usually-but not always-the leader of his or her party.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

Just two weeks earlier, Merkel's conservative CSU sister party suffered a similar drubbing in Bavaria.

Taxi for Angela Merkel? "The CDU should make way for a new start in a government or a new election in Germany", he told NTV, a TV channel.

Another prominent CSU figure, Bavaria's state head Markus Soeder, said that it was the CDU's concern.

The fallout from another damaging result for the CDU in a regional election on Sunday is raising questions about how long the chancellor will be able to hold on in practice.

She said she wanted to complete her fourth stint as chancellor but stressed that it would be "her last term", a party source told AFP.

Merkel announced that she will give up the leadership of her conservative Christian Democratic Union in December and won't stand for a fifth term as chancellor - signalling the beginning of the end at the helm for the woman many had labelled the "leader of the free world". Merkel herself blamed the losses on infighting in her national government. She also acknowledged that it was an unprecedented move, but sees greener pastures for her party as well as the whole country.


Merkel now governs Germany in a "grand coalition" of what traditionally have been the country's biggest parties - the CDU, Bavaria's CSU, and the Social Democrats.

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.

While making her announcement, Merkel declined to back any of the several CDU members who are seeking to replace her as party chair.

The leader of the Social Democrats (SPD) Andrea Nahles, who is also dealing with her party's sinking rating and poor performance in the regional elections, has given credit to Merkel.

The announcement will end her 18-year run as the leader of Germany's mainstream conservative party.

Merkel's power has been on the wane since her fateful 2015 decision to keep Germany's borders open, ultimately allowing in more than one million migrants.

There was widespread pre-election speculation that a disastrous result for either or both parties could further destabilize the national government, prompting calls for the Social Democrats to walk out and possibly endangering Merkel's own position.

Her major policy shifts have reflected the wishes of a changing society - among them phasing out nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima disaster - and shifted her CDU firmly to the political centre.

Merkel's grand coalition has come close to collapse this year over migration issues and a scandal involving the country's spy chief.

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