Europe's De Facto leader 'Angela Merkel' to step down
The veteran leader who has led Germany for 13 years said she hoped her planned departure would end bitter fighting in her coalition and finally focus it on its task of governing Europe's biggest economy
Angela Merkel on Monday announced she will quit as German chancellor when her mandate ends in 2021, as she sought to draw a line under a series of political crises that have rocked her fragile coalition.
Taking a decisive step towards the end of her political career, the veteran leader who has led Germany for 13 years said she hoped her planned departure would end bitter fighting in her coalition and finally focus it on its task of governing Europe's biggest economy.
"Today, it is time to begin a new chapter," she said at her party headquarters. Merkel, 64, will stagger her political exit by first giving up the leadership job of her Christian Democratic Union in December. At least four candidates declared their interest to seek Merkel's job after she made her stunning announcement. But she said she would not name a successor. "I will accept any democratic decision taken by my party," she said.
Often hailed as the world's most powerful woman and Europe's de facto leader, Merkel's power has been on the wane since her 2015 decision to keep Germany's borders open at the height of Europe's migrant crisis, ultimately allowing in more than one million asylum seekers.
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