Published: Tue, October 30, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

What Angela Merkel’s Decision Not to Run Again as Party Leader Means

What Angela Merkel’s Decision Not to Run Again as Party Leader Means

Bunds led a drop in euro-area government debt, while domestic shares rose the most since April after Merkel said she won't seek re-election as leader of the Christian Democratic Union in December and won't run to be chancellor in 2021. She also acknowledged that it was an unprecedented move, but sees greener pastures for her party as well as the whole country.

Merkel told the party that this will be her final parliamentary term as chancellor, the dpa news agency reported, citing unidentified party sources.

Merkel added that she would "not aim for any other political office". But her announcement marked the first public confirmation of it.

Ms Merkel, 64, has been the CDU's chairwoman since 2000 and chancellor since 2005.

The surge in far-right support also comes amid criticism of her former open-door policy on immigration.

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

However, she said that she would like to remain chancellor, local media report. The challenge, in other words, is on the right and left. "It will be interesting to see what happens now, because this is initiating a dynamic, the outcome of which is unforeseeable today".

She said her party would insist on Mrs Merkel's governing coalition agreeing on "a clear, binding timetable" for implementing projects, and that how that is implemented ahead of an already-agreed midterm review next autumn will show "whether we are still in the right place in this government". Merkel is only the third chancellor of a reunified Germany.

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The BBC's Jenny Hill, in Berlin, says the latest setback comes amid a awful year for the chancellor where her coalition government has lurched unhappily from crisis to crisis. That would be the worst result in the region for the Social Democrats since World War II.

Its loss increases the instability of the CDU's grand coalition with the Social Democratic Party, with whom the CDU rules in Berlin. If things go well, "it could have a positive effect for us and our work together".

Die Welt reporter Robin Alexander said the path could now be clear for CDU general secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, nicknamed AKK, to take the reins. Merkel has been under pressure for creating a coalition with the SPD.

Merkel's predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, stepped down as leader of his center-left Social Democrats in 2004 as his government struggled, but remained chancellor until he narrowly lost an election 18 months later.

Merkel said she wouldn't interfere in the choice of her successor.

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.

She swung her conservatives behind bailouts for Greece and other struggling eurozone nations, striking a balance between calls for a strict approach at home and more generosity overseas.

And in both Bavaria and Hesse, the anti-immigrant Alternative For Germany (AfD) party vote surged, benefiting from voters unimpressed by Merkel's 2015 decision to allow more than one million asylum seekers to settle in Germany. On October 14, the Christian Social Union, or CSU - the Bavarian sister party to the CDU - lost its majority in the Bavarian state parliament.

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