Merkel Coalition Set for Another Battering in Hesse Elections			ODD ANDERSEN  AFP  Getty Images		28 Oct 2018

After her party's disastrous showing in two state elections, Ms. Merkel said she would not stand again to lead the Christian Democrats as she seeks to prepare the party to replace her as chancellor. The chancellor was scheduled to hold a news conference later in the day. The CDU may push her to resign as Chancellor earlier.

The SPD-CDU "grand coalition" came together as Merkel's second choice after her talks failed with the Greens and the pro-business FDP parties following last year's inconclusive elections. Capturing only 33 per cent of the vote, Ms. Merkel's CDU spent nearly six months trying to cobble together a coalition, eventually resorting to the vastly diminished SPD to form a government. These include the CDU and its partner in the southern state of Bavaria, the Christian Social Union, or CSU.

There was widespread pre-election speculation that a disastrous result for either or both parties could further destabilise the national government, prompting calls for the Social Democrats to walk out and possibly endangering Mrs Merkel's own position. Her current coalition began its leadership in March after six months of hard political negotiations.

She said she would stay on as Germany's chancellor through her term, which expires in 2021, but would not run for reelection after that.


Elected state premier of Germany's most populous region North Rhine-Westphalia just last year, 57-year-old Armin Laschet could emerge as the compromise candidate to heal divisions that have torn at the CDU under Merkel.

This comes after the CDU party suffered huge losses in elections in Hesse on Sunday and a few weeks after similar losses in Bavaria.

"I will accept any democratic decision taken by my party", she told a press conference in Berlin.

Merkel has faced criticism for her handling of the refugee crisis. Merkel's one-time mentor, Helmut Kohl, did seek a fifth term in 1998 and lost power after 16 years. Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) leader Andrea Nahles threatened to end the alliance if Merkel did not implement policies to bring back voters, Dow Jones Newswires reported.


The government nearly collapsed twice over the summer, notably when Merkel restrained hardline interior minister Horst Seehofer's attempts to toughen up migrant policy.

"I hope that, once there is a clear decision, these arguments over personnel and direction... will be over", she said pointing out that if things go well "it could have a positive effect for us and our work together". "The "right" mistake", he wrote in The New York Times this year, adding that Merkel "showed the world the friendly face of human rationality". It remains to be seen whether leadership changes in Germany's two big tent parties can address their ebbing support in a changing political landscape, as voters head to the Greens or the AfD. Numerous arrivals were fleeing fighting in Syria. On October 14, the Christian Social Union, or CSU - the Bavarian sister party to the CDU - lost its majority in the Bavarian state parliament.

The end of the long love affair with the CDU no doubt began in 2015 and 2016, when Ms. Merkel welcomed a million migrants, a lot of them Syrians, as a humanitarian gesture.


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