EU Budget Chief Says Merkel Should Serve Out Term

Frederick Owens
November 3, 2018

For 13 years Angela Merkel has been a cool head at summits and a powerful broker in troubled Europe, but analysts say the countdown until her announced departure could leave her an worldwide lame duck.

"Whether Merkel will really govern as chancellor until 2021 and then leave politics as promised, or whether the events would suddenly become uncontrollable for her, is no longer up to her alone", said news weekly Der Spiegel.

Maillard was referring not only to Merkel's decision to quit as chair of her party before stepping down later as chancellor, but also to not run for an European Union position afterward. A key determining factor would be who ends up taking over from "the eternal chancellor", who has already been in power for 13 years and at the helm of her party for 18.

The European Commission president spoke to Merkel, a political ally since the 1990s, on Monday evening following her announcements. Party sources said Friedrich Merz, a former parliamentary leader of Merkel's conservative alliance, would also run.

Mrs Merkel said she took "full responsibility" for poor performance.

In Sunday's vote in Hesse, the CDU came out top but lost 11 percentage points in support from the last election in 2013.

The race to fill the power vacuum is already on, with Merkel's preferred successor fending off competition from wings of the party less favourable towards her agenda.

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Merkel's "center-right" CDU joined with the center-left SDP and the Christian Social Union (CSU) of Bavaria to form the current grand coalition government in Germany.

Christian Democrats will elect their new chair at an upcoming party conference in December in Hamburg.

This decision, taken for humanitarian reasons, along with the high number of forcefully displaced persons coming to Germany in 2015 (numbers declined significantly in the following years) had a polarising effect on German society and strengthened right-wing political forces, including the party "Alternative für Deutschland", which is now represented in the national as well as all 16 regional parliaments.

Once giving up its leadership, the USA may find it is a hard thing to win back. "There are decisions in life where it is not helpful to let too many people know about them", the Chancellor said.

Siaka Fanny, adviser to Ivory Coast's Finance Ministry, was equally effusive: "We need to be meeting together, so that the highest level of African countries have the opportunity to explain how good the business environment is, and how the reforms have been put in place", he said.

"We affirmed our determination to deepen and develop the horizons of partnership between the two countries in light of the important position occupied by Germany internationally and within the European Union", Sisi stated. "I think that nothing will change in my bargaining position in global negotiations", the veteran leader said. But few observers believe she could hang on until the end of her term, speculating that new elections could be held as early as next year.

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