Merkel Reportedly Ready to Step Down from Party

29 October, 2018, 14:13 | Author: Bert Pena
  • High stakes for Merkel's govt as German state of Hesse votes

Angela Merkel, the most powerful woman in Europe, is standing down as the chairperson of her Christian Democratic Union party, a position she has held for 18 years, according to German media reports.

Germany's two biggest parties achieved their worst result in more than half a century in Hesse, making Angela Merkel's future look uncertain, both as CDU leader and as chancellor.

Preliminary final results showed both of the formerly dominant parties being hit with losses of around 11 percentage points in Hesse, western Germany, compared with the last election in 2013, although the CDU still claimed first place with 27 percent of the vote.

The leader of the SPD youth organization Juso, Kevin Kühnert, was more categorical, stating that "on conditions under which we work here in Berlin, the SPD will not get a foot on the ground in any state..."

Others include two state premiers Armin Laschet and Daniel Guenther, who carry weight after recently leading the CDU to victory in regional elections.

Hesse's election was closely watched by analysts for signs of further dropping support for the CDU and SPD.

As to whether Merkel could be toppled, Finance minister and SPD hopeful for chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Sunday: "I'm not Mrs Merkel's spokesman, but. she has told the public that she was elected for the whole parliament" of four years.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told leaders of her Christian Democrats (CDU) that she will not seek re-election as party chairwoman at a conference in early December, a senior party source said.

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Meanwhile, at 19.8 percent the SPD tumbled into a neck-and-neck race for second place with the ecologist Greens, who garnered 19.6 percent.

The result means the anti-immigration party, which entered the federal parliament for the first time past year, is now also represented in all 16 German regional assemblies.

She will also have to contend with pressure from her Social Democrat (SPD) junior coalition partners, who have also bled support in Hesse and are under pressure to rethink their alliance with Ms Merkel.

That means the CDU will nearly certainly remain in charge, with the Greens and the centrist Free Democrats as likely coalition partners.

Andrea Nahles, the Social Democrats' leader, said that "the state of the government is unacceptable".

Standing down now would allow the next party leader to build a profile before the next national election, which is due in 2021.

The CDU's General Secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer echoed Nahles' promises, stating that the coalition must identify "three concrete projects for the coming months that we implement". And the far-right Alternative for Germany was on course to enter the last of Germany's 16 state parliaments with more than 12%.

Of the SPD, he added: "A party on the way down can not suddenly rise from the ashes by going into the opposition".

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