Merkel to give up party leadership
Berlin : German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced she will give up leadership of her centre-right Christian Democrat Union (CDU) party after 18 years in the post, the media reported on Monday.
Her decision came after both parties under her ruling coalition -- the CDU and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) -- suffered heavy losses in a regional election over the weekend, CNN reported on Monday.
Merkel announced during a meeting with officials that she will not seek to run for re-election at the party's convention in December. But she said she wanted to remain as Chancellor, a position she has held since 2005, CNN affiliate RTL reported, citing party sources.
This announcement was in contrast to Merkel's previous position, in which she linked the party leadership role to the chancellorship, meaning that she would only remain Chancellor if she was party leader.
In the weekend election held in Hesse state, while the CDU remained the largest party, results were down 10 per cent from the previous election.
The election was a second blow to Merkel's "grand coalition" government. On October 14, the Christian Social Union, (CSU) -- the Bavarian sister party to the CDU -- lost its majority in the Bavarian state Parliament.
Merkel later said that voters had lost trust in the government and that it was her job to "make sure that trust was won back".
"I will work on that with as much vigour as I can," she added.
Bavaria bore the brunt of the 2015 refugee crisis; at its peak, thousands of asylum seekers were crossing into the state every day. Since then, both Merkel and her CSU allies have been criticized for their management of the influx.