Angela Merkel to step down as German chancellor in 2021

BY: bbc.com
Angela Merke
Angela Merke

Germany's Angela Merkel has said she will step down as chancellor in 2021, following recent election setbacks.

"I will not be seeking any political post after my term ends," she told a news conference in Berlin.

She also said she would not seek re-election as leader of the centre-right CDU party in December. She has held the post since 2000.

The CDU was severely weakened in Sunday's poll in the state of Hesse, the latest in a series of setbacks.

Both the CDU and its coalition partners, the Social Democrats, were 10 percentage points down on the previous poll there - even though they remain in power in Hesse.

The election comes just weeks after Mrs Merkel's Bavarian sister party, the CSU, suffered huge losses in a state parliament vote.

Parties like the AfD and the Greens have grown in national support following the 2017 general election, as backing for the major centre parties has waned.

Mr Merkel said she took "full responsibility" for poor performance, and made clear she would not handpick her successor as party leader.

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