Berlin, October 30: Germany's Angela Merkel has said she will step down as Chancellor in 2021, following recent election setbacks. She told a news conference in Berlin that she would not seek re-election as leader of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union( CDU). She has held the post since 2000.
The CDU was severely weakened in yesterday'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.
Merkel said she took "full responsibility" for poor performance, and made clear she would not handpick her successor as party leader.
This would leave her in the position of staying as chancellor while not being the leader of her own party. The German constitution has strict rules regulating the process of appointing the chancellor, with parties nominating a named candidate for the position ahead of elections.