Angela Merkel says she won’t stand for re-election as Germany’s chancellor

Sky News:  

Angela Merkel has announced she will not run for re-election as chancellor of Germany in 2021.

Ms Merkel has confirmed her current term will be her last, after earlier revealing she would stand down as leader of her party.

She has led the Christian Democrats since 2000 and been chancellor since 2005.

Ms Merkel will not seek re-election as party chairwoman at a conference in December and said she would not seek to try and influence who succeeds her.

She said she sees it as the beginning of a new phase for the party, noting: “This is a very good process that we haven’t had in 18 years.”

The move will fire the starting gun within the party to potentially succeed Ms Merkel as chancellor.

Ms Merkel’s decision follows a drop in support in a state election in Hesse, the second such electoral setback for her conservative alliance.

After 13 years in power, it also appears that her domestic appeal is on the wane.

In last year’s general election Ms Merkel saw a drop in support and was forced to form a coalition with the centre-left Social Democrats following an inconclusive result.

Ms Merkel’s domestic troubles could have a knock-on effect for the European Union, with Berlin one of the power-brokers in the bloc.

The EU is trying to negotiate a Brexit deal with Britain, deal with a budget crisis in Italy and faces the prospect of populist anti-establishment parties making gains in the European Parliament elections in May.

The euro fell as reports of Ms Merkel’s decision emerged.

The move is not unprecedented in German politics.

Ms Merkel’s predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, stepped down as leader of his party in 2004 and remained chancellor for another 18 months.

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