New Delhi: Angela Merkel on Monday said that this will be her final parliamentary term as German Chancellor. Reportedly, Merkel said she will remain on her post as chancellor but will step down in 2021 when her current term finishes.
Her decision came after both parties under her ruling coalition — the CDU and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) — suffered heavy losses in a regional election over the weekend, CNN reported on Monday.
Merkel announced during a meeting with officials that she will not seek to run for re-election at the party’s convention in December. But she said she wanted to remain as Chancellor, a position she has held since 2005, CNN affiliate RTL reported, citing party sources. This announcement was in contrast to Merkel’s previous position, in which she linked the party leadership role to the chancellorship, meaning that she would only remain, Chancellor, if she was party leader.
The election was the second blow to Merkel’s “grand coalition” government. On October 14, the Christian Social Union, (CSU) — the Bavarian sister party to the CDU — lost its majority in the Bavarian State Parliament. In March, Angela Merkel was elected as Chancellor for the fourth time. Lawmakers voted 364-315 re-elect Merkel. She has been an unopposed leader since 2005.
On October 15, German Chancellor Angela Merkel had said she wanted to work towards regaining the lost trust of the electorate after her political allies lost their absolute majority in Bavaria’s regional parliamentary elections.
Merkel had said that good economic figures and low unemployment were not enough for citizens if they lacked trust in political actors, a day after the Christian Social Union — a member of the ruling federal government coalition and the regional Bavarian counterpart to Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union — saw a drop in vote share from 47.7 to 37.2 per cent.
“The lesson I take from yesterday (Sunday) is that I, as federal chancellor of this grand coalition, must also put more effort into regaining this trust so that the results of our work are made more visible,” Merkel had said during a speech at an economic forum.
The CSU lost its absolute majority in the Bavarian Parliament after Sunday’s elections, obtaining 16 seats less than in the previous regional ballot in 2013.
Merkel had said the grand coalition in Berlin — formed by the CDU, the CSU and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) — had failed to clearly communicate its work and achievements.
Meanwhile, the third wheel in the government alliance, the SPD, plummeted to a paltry 9.7 per cent of the vote in Bavaria, an 11 per cent collapse that was being mirrored in recent nationwide polls.
Bavaria bore the brunt of the 2015 refugee crisis; at its peak, thousands of asylum seekers were crossing into the state every day. Since then, both Merkel and her CSU allies have been criticized for their management of the influx.
(With agency inputs)