Merkel to step down as German Chancellor in 2021 (Lead)
Berlin : German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Monday that she will not seek re-election when her term expires in 2021, following recent election setbacks.
Merkel, who has been Chancellor since 2005, made the announcement during a news conference.
"This fourth term is my last term as Chancellor of Germany. In the next Bundestag election in 2021, I will not run again as Chancellor. I will not run for the German Bundestag any more, and I do not want any other political office," she said.
"It is time today for me to start a new chapter."
She also said she would not seek re-election as leader of the centre-right CDU party in December. She has held the post since 2000, the BBC reported.
The shake-up at the top of one of Germany's major political forces came following the CDU's poor showing in regional elections in the states of Bavaria and Hesse, which Merkel called very "disappointing and bitter".
"The image given by the governing coalition is unacceptable," she said, in reference to the major public disagreements that emerged between the CDU and its Bavarian counterpart, the Christian Social Union (CSU).
The CSU's leader and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has been highly critical of Merkel's refugee policy and assumed a hardline stance far to the CDU's right on immigration issues.
In the recent elections in Bavaria, the CSU lost its absolute majority in the regional Parliament and saw a drop from 47.7 per cent to 37.2 per cent of the vote.
In Sunday's election in Hesse, the CDU fell from 37.2 per cent to 27 per cent.
The electoral decline of the CDU/CSU has been accompanied by an even stronger plunge by the third federal coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), which in the past couple of years suffered its worst results in the post-World War II era.
The waning of both the centre-right and centre-left has been paired with the resurgence of the German far right, embodied by the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, as well as a slight growth of the environmentalist Alliance '90/The Greens, which takes part in regional coalition governments with both the SPD (Hamburg) and the CDU.