Merkel to stand down as CDU leader, stay German Chancellor

29 Octobre, 2018, 16:29 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Green politicians Tarek Al-Wazir Priska Hinz and Annalena Baerbock at an election rally in Frankfurt last week. The party is enjoying a surge in popularity in Germany

The EU is trying to negotiate a Brexit deal with Britain, deal with a budget crisis in Italy and faces the prospect of populist anti-establishment parties making gains in the European Parliament elections in May.

"With these latest results, it has simply become untenable that Merkel continues to lead the CDU", said Mujtaba Rahman, managing director at Eurasia Group, a consultancy.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU has scored 27% of the vote in the state election in Hesse, as the preliminary tally indicates. Sunday's vote in the economically strong state of Hesse proves that the country wants change.

Meanwhile, at 19.8 percent the SPD tumbled into a neck-and-neck race for second place with the ecologist Greens, who garnered 19.6 percent.

The exit polls for ARD and ZDF public television gave Merkel's Christian Democratic Union up to 28 per cent support and the center-left Social Democrats 20 percent.

The campaign in Hesse, which includes Germany's financial center of Frankfurt, has been largely overshadowed by the woes of a federal coalition that has been in office only since March.

Merkel's first order of business when she speaks at 1:00 pm (1200 GMT) in Berlin will be buttering up the Social Democrats, who have threatened to leave the coalition that many blame for years of disappointing electoral setbacks.

But the night's biggest victor was the Greens.

And Mr. Bouffier, noting that his party fared better in the Hesse vote than it now does in polls nationally, seems keen to stay in power.

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She said she wanted to complete her fourth stint as chancellor but stressed that it would be "her last term", a party source told AFP. The ball is now again in the court of the government coalition partner, the SPD.

She would ratherwaive the party leadership than not be reelected.

According to a survey, the Social Democrats' dismal showing is mainly due to the lack of central policy proposals that "inspire" voters.

SPD chief Andrea Nahles said her centre-left party, Germany's oldest, had failed "to break free from the government" and carve out a clear profile of its own after serving in multiple, compromise-laden "grand coalitions".

Three months later, her father moved the family to a small-town parish in the communist East at a time when most people were headed the other way.

Increasing numbers of SPD members are calling for the party to quit government immediately and lick its wounds in opposition, as it is presently polling below AfD nationwide, at 15 percent to the far-right's 16 percent. He demanded a new vote by the SPD's rank and file on whether to quit the coalition.

But such a move, triggering a collapse of the government, would nearly certainly lead to a snap election. And with the party now polling at record-low levels, SPD heavyweights know that they stand to lose the most from that nuclear option.

But at home, even a change-averse electorate has started to grow tired of the leader dubbed "Mutti" (Mummy) and the cautious and glacial style of consensus politics her coalition government is now associated with.

Die Welt reporter Robin Alexander said the path could now be clear for Merkel's chosen heir, CDU general secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, to take the reins if no other credible candidate emerges by December. He urged the coalition parties to "show that they have the power to work together".

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