Angela Merkel to step down as German chancellor in 2021

Angela Merkel to step down as German chancellor in 2021

The party's state leader, Volker Bouffier, called the outcome "very humbling".

In Hesse, both her centre-right CDU and its coalition partners, the Social Democrats, were 10% down on the previous poll there - even though they remain in power.

Over the weekend, a key regional election in the German state of Hesse, which includes the population-heavy city of Frankfurt, saw Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU/CSU coalition suffer extreme losses in voter confidence, narrowly escaping defeat and sending a warning shot across the bow of Merkel allies that the populace is growing exhausted of political in-fighting and disenfranchised with the lack of policy results. "We haven't heard about serious contenders to replace her". The latter was vying with the SPD for second place after its best result in the state's history.

It was the second regional vote in quick succession to disappoint the conservative camp, after a battering in Bavaria two weeks ago. Since then, both Merkel and her CSU allies have been criticized for their management of the influx.

After 13 years with Merkel at the helm, majority in coalition with the SPD, many Germans are exhausted of government by carefully-crafted compromise, calling instead for clear direction on pressing policy issues like migration, security, reform of the European Union and climate change.

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The CDU has governed Hesse for almost 20 years, and the party campaigned on an enviable record in the state of ultra-low unemployment, high wages and minimal crime.

"The message was very clear: Don't quarrel". It's not clear if the CDU will now again unite with the Greens to form a government.

The result suggests the CDU and Greens could continue their ruling coalition in Hesse but is likely to increase tensions in Merkel's ruling "grand coalition" in Berlin.

According to reports, Ms Merkel told CDU leaders that she will not seek reelection as party chairwoman at a conference in early December.

Had the party relinquished control in Hesse, some analysts saw her as vulnerable to an intraparty challenge.

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CDU leaders will meet next Sunday to prepare for a summit in December where party members will vote for a new chairman. The CDU won a third of the vote in last September's German election - an historically poor performance for a party that has dominated the country's post-war politics.

And Mr. Bouffier, noting that his party fared better in the Hesse vote than it now does in polls nationally, seems keen to stay in power.

The weakness that Merkel faces on the home front, could limit her capacity to lead in the European Union, as the block now is dealing with Brexit, a budget crisis in Italy, and possibility of populist parties gain popularity at European parliament elections in May.

She said she took "full responsibility" for recent election setbacks.

Railing against the newcomers, the far-right anti-immigrant AfD is now the biggest opposition party in the Bundestag, and has seats in all of Germany's state parliaments.

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