Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, has said that she will be stepping down from her postion in 2021, after recent election setbacks.
During a news conference in Berlin, she stated: “I will not be seeking any political post after my term ends.”
She also said that she would not be seeking re-election as the leader of the centre-right CDU party in December. She has held the said post since 2000.
The CDU was greatly weakened in the poll last Sunday in the state of Hesse, the most recent in a series of setbacks.
Both the CDU and the Social Democrats, its national coalition partners, were 10 percentage points down on the previous poll there.
The election comes weeks after the CSU, the Bavarian sister party of Merkel, endured great losses in a state parliament vote.
Parties such as the left-leaning Greens and the far-right, anti-immigration AfD have developed national support after the general elections that were held last year, as the support for the major centre parties has weakened.
Merkel did her best to maintain her famous poker face, however, it seemed that she looked rather sad as she declared what amounted to an official – albeit drawn-out – goodbye to German politics.
Merkel’s announcement is meant to silence the critics in her party and win back the support of those who have deserted the CDU in favour of parties such as the Greens and the AfD, but it also reflects her weakening grip on power.
The German Chancellor said that she took “full responsibility” for poor performance.
She added: “As chancellor and leader of the CDU I’m politically responsible for everything, for successes and for failures.
“When people are telling us what they think of how the government was formed and what they think of our work during the first seven months of this parliament… then it is a clear signal that things can’t carry on as they are.”
She continued: “The time has come to open a new chapter.”