After Angela Merkel's CDU suffered a crushing defeat in regional elections in the state of Hesse, the German leader is giving a press conference Monday morning to discuss what went wrong - and presumably to address reports that she will be retiring from politics at the end of her term.
In her opening remarks, she took responsibility for her party's loss in Hesse on Sunday, and added that her party had "lost credibility." She also confirmed earlier media reports that she will not be seeking reelection as either CDU party chair or as a parliamentarian - in fact, she will not be seeking any political posts after the end of her current term, which ends in 2021. This will see her leave office as Europe's longest serving leader.
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- *MERKEL SAYS SHE WON'T SEEK RE-ELECTION AS CDU PARTY CHAIRWOMAN
- *MERKEL SAYS HER GOVERNMENT PRESENTING `UNACCEPTABLE' IMAGE
- *MERKEL: WON'T SEEK ANY OTHER POLITICAL OFFICES BEYOND THIS TERM
- *MERKEL SAYS SHE REMAINS READY TO SERVE OUT TERM AS CHANCELLOR
- *MERKEL SAYS SHE WILL NOT SEEK RE-ELECTION AS CHANCELLOR IN 2021
- *MERKEL SAYS SHE WON'T SEEK OTHER POLITICAL OFFICE AFTER 2021
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Merkel told reporters that she had initially decided to step down as party leader over the summer. Yet, as one of the German chancellor's interlocutors pointed out, the German leader said several times in recent months that she sees both positions as bound together - suggesting that she had been planning on another run, and that, if anything, the CDU's tepid performance in Bavaria and Hesse were the inspiration for her decision. By setting an end date for her 13-year-tenure as chancellor (and 18-year-tenure as party leader) Merkel has virtually guaranteed that she won't face an internal challenge before then. But asked about her decision not to back a successor, Merkel said simply that she's "someone who can get along with anyone." With Trump's cancellation of the INF and Brexit ratcheting up international tensions, and overdue financial reforms beginning to complicate the domestic situation, Merkel said there's plenty of work to be done. By stepping aside, Merkel said that her party can now start the difficult work of finding somebody to replace her.
Watch a video of the press conference below: