Angela Merkel has said she will not seek re-election as Germany's chancellor as well as CDU's party chair. The decision comes after a debacle for her party in the local elections in the federal state of Hesse.
On Sunday, Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) received 28 percent of the votes. Although that was more support than other competitors received, it was a significant drop from the 38.3 percent won by the party in the state's last election in 2013.
"Firstly, at the next CDU party congress in December in Hamburg, I will not put myself forward again as candidate for the CDU chair," Merkel told reporters.
Secondly, this fourth term is my last as German chancellor. At the federal election in 2021, I will not stand again as chancellor candidate, nor as a candidate for the Bundestag, and…I won't seek any further political offices.
As the CDU experiences losses in support, the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is seeing a rise in popularity. It received 12 percent of the votes in Hesse on Sunday, and now holds parliamentary seats in every single German state.
Speaking to RT following the Hesse elections, independent political observer Steven Meissner told RT that Merkel “is getting weaker and weaker and more unpopular.”
Merkel's popularity has indeed been slipping for a long time, with her handling of the 2015 migrant crisis being a major contributing factor. A July poll found that only one in five Germans were happy with her performance as leader.
While making her announcement, Merkel declined to back any of the several CDU members who are seeking to replace her as party chair.
Merkel, 64, chaired the CDU party since 2000 and has served as Germany's chancellor since 2005.
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