Angela Merkel Says Will Step Down as German Chancellor at End of Term in 2021
Often hailed as the world's most powerful woman and Europe's de facto leader, a weakened Merkel also told the top brass that she planned to give up the party leadership, a role she has held for 18 years.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (File photo: Reuters)
Berlin: Angela Merkel will step down as German chancellor when her mandate ends in 2021, she announced on Monday, after a series of political crises and regional vote debacles rocked her fragile coalition.
"Today it is time to begin a new chapter," she told reporters at her party headquarters. Often hailed as the world's most powerful woman and Europe's de facto leader, a weakened Merkel has faced growing calls to spell out her succession plans after 13 years in power.
Speaking at a meeting of her centre-right Christian Democratic Union on Monday, a day after a bruising state poll in Hesse, Merkel also told the top brass that she planned to give up the party leadership, a role she has held for 18 years.
She said she wanted to complete her fourth stint as chancellor but stressed that it would be "her last term".
"She was genuinely sad and not at all bitter and asked that the discussion about her succession be conducted in a kind manner," a party source said, adding that Merkel's words were greeted with a standing ovation.
Germany's veteran leader had been widely expected to run for reelection as CDU leader at a party congress in December. Merkel had until now always insisted that the posts of party chief and chancellor in Europe's top economy should be held by the same person.
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