Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Angela Merkel to step down as German chancellor in 2021

Merkel Faces Test of Her Authority in German Regional Vote Merkel Faces Test of Her Authority in German Regional Vote
Leonard Rios | 29 October, 2018, 15:31

The center-left Social Democrats (SPD) fared even worse, winning just 19.6 percent of the vote, down from 30.7 percent and its worst result in the western state since 1946.

The CDU suffered numerous setbacks in regional elections.

Over the weekend, a key regional election in the German state of Hesse, which includes the population-heavy city of Frankfurt, saw Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU/CSU coalition suffer extreme losses in voter confidence, narrowly escaping defeat and sending a warning shot across the bow of Merkel allies that the populace is growing exhausted of political in-fighting and disenfranchised with the lack of policy results.

This comes as she is been facing calls to quit from her own conservatives to cede the party's leadership today, further eroding her authority after painful losses in a regional election. Merkel's favoured successor is CDU party secretary general Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

Her major policy shifts have reflected the wishes of a changing society - among them phasing out nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima disaster - and shifted her CDU firmly to the political centre.

Losing ground to their non-mainstream rivals in a series of recent elections, including Local votes in Hesse and Bavaria and the national election past year has been viewed as unacceptable by many in a nation which has until recently instinctively tied itself to the centre ground. That would be the worst result in the region for the Social Democrats since World War II.

Meanwhile junior federal coalition partners the Social Democrats (SPD) tumbled nearly 11 points to 20 per cent.

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And in both Bavaria and Hesse, the anti-immigrant Alternative For Germany (AfD) party vote surged, benefiting from voters unimpressed by Merkel's 2015 decision to allow more than one million asylum seekers to settle in Germany.

Voters have appeared generally satisfied with Bouffier's outgoing state government.

Her term as Chancellor was expected to run until 2021.

But only the Greens, who are in opposition nationally, benefited at the polls. In projections throughout the evening, the outgoing CDU-Green coalition was forecast to win 61 seats out of 121, securing a razor-thin majority. "People are fed up with the grand coalition", said Raed Saleh, the SPD parliamentary group leader in Berlin's state parliament.

Merkel said she won't seek to return as her party's leader when the CDU meets in December - setting off speculation over who in her party might try to replace her.

The Social Democrats only reluctantly entered Merkel's fourth-term national government in March, and many are dismayed by what has happened since.

For a start, Mrs Merkel's coalition...

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