Merkel quits: Runners and riders to REPLACE Chancellor REVEALED - including 'mini Merkel'

30 October, 2018, 01:50 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Prime Minister Volker Bouffier and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend the final campaign rally prior to the upcoming state election in Fulda

Angela Merkel has reportedly told her party that she is prepared to step down as its leader but remain as German chancellor.

Political analysts in Germany have wondered whether Merkel might not serve out a full term if she's not leading her own party - a pairing that Merkel herself has said is crucial to being an effective chancellor.

The weakness that Merkel faces on the home front, could limit her capacity to lead in the European Union, as the block now is dealing with Brexit, a budget crisis in Italy, and possibility of populist parties gain popularity at European parliament elections in May.

The result in Hesse "is therefore the final piece of evidence that the AfD has established itself within the German party system", Carsten Nickel, a German politics expert at political risks consultancy Teneo Intelligence, wrote in a note on Sunday.

She said the SPD would now propose a "discussion paper" in Berlin demanding concrete progress on key issues by next October, including pension rights and better childcare, before deciding whether to remain in the coalition.

Andrea Nahles, the Social Democrats' leader, said that "the state of the government is unacceptable".

When Hesse last elected its state legislature in 2013 - on the same day that Mrs Merkel was triumphantly elected to a third term as chancellor - they won 38.3% and 30.7%, respectively.

The Social Democrats only reluctantly entered Merkel's fourth-term national government in March, and many are dismayed by what has happened since. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who gave up her job as a state governor earlier this year to become the party's general secretary, is viewed as an ally of Merkel and largely backs her centrist approach. If Merkel wanted to win a fifth term as chancellor after 2021, she would have to re-establish her party as dominant under her leadership.

In the past, she has said that the chancellor should also be the leader of the ruling party, and that it was unsafe to divide the roles between two people.

Such results would make various regional coalitions possible, with the Greens potentially joining parties to their right or left or even, if their results are exceptionally good, having a chance to make their local leader Tarek Al-Wazir - now Bouffier's deputy - the state governor.

Merkel has dragged the CDU to the political center in her years as leader, dropping military conscription, introducing benefits encouraging fathers to look after their young children, and abruptly accelerating the shutdown of Germany's nuclear power plants following Japan's Fukushima disaster in 2011.

That will start with her handing off the party leadership to a successor at a party congress in December.

Merkel's CDU came first in Sunday's election in the western state of Hesse but support fell by more than 11 points, reigniting a succession debate by conservatives unhappy with the chancellor's grip on power.

Merkel is expected to finish out the rest of her three year term as chancellor.

"Angela Merkel knows quite clearly that she is living through the last months or through the a year ago of her chancellorship", Werner Patzelt, a politics professor at the Technical University in Dresden, told NBC News.

Today the AfD sits in the national Bundestag and every state assembly, having poached millions of votes from Merkel's big-party alliance, which has plummeted in the polls and suffered a string of defeats.


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