Published: Mon, October 29, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Merkel facing calls to step down as CDU party leader

Merkel facing calls to step down as CDU party leader

AfD leader Joerg Meuthen hailed news of Merkel's eventual exit as "good news" and said he expected her to also "give up her chancellorship soon".

Sources in the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) have said that Chancellor Angela Merkel is prepared to step down as party leader, but plans on remaining in her post as chancellor.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing calls from her own conservatives to cede the party's leadership, further eroding her authority after painful losses in a regional election.

"I won't seek any further political offices", she added. Even so, Merkel's term as chancellor runs until 2021 and Merkel has said she intends to serve it out.

Her message was clear: the SPD needs to be able to show tangible results to its supporters next year or else the party's leaders will pull out of the coalition with Merkel.

Her CDU party was severely weakened in elections in the state of Hesse on Sunday, the latest poor performance by parties in her coalition government.

Merkel made the announcement on the day after Sunday's vote in Hesse in a speech to mark the 20th anniversary of the German Federal Government Commission for Culture and the Media (BKM).

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However, the SPD's historic losses could mean yet more pain for the chancellor's already troubled government coalition in Berlin.

Following the close election results, the SPD's leader, Andrea Nahles, has announced a mid-term review of the current coalition government next year, taking the declining voting numbers as a sign that the German electorate is growing exhausted of the coalition's constant in-fighting and lack of progress on bringing legislative change to Germany.

Seen by many as Merkel's anointed successor, Kramp-Karrenbauer cautioned that "if the government falls apart now, it will result in new elections", a barely concealed warning to would-be coalition breakers in both the CDU and SPD.

He said it's important to avoid "long personnel debates" and restore people's confidence in the CDU as a governing party.

Merkel's 13 years as chancellor have piled up baggage from repeated compromise-laden "grand coalitions" with the SPD, as well as a fateful 2015 decision to keep Germany's borders open, ultimately allowing in more than one million migrants.

The embattled leader of the SDP, Andrea Nahles, has given Merkel an ultimatum to produce the kind of policy results within a year that would start bringing back voters, threatening otherwise to end the alliance. That decision has led to lasting tensions in her conservative Union bloc, particularly with the CDU's Bavaria-only sister party, the CSU, and helped the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party gain support.

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