Angela Merkel on the spot after painful regional vote

German governing parties punished in state election

Her decision comes after her party suffered heavy losses in regional elections that threatened the stability of the governing coalition.

Her announcement was praised within her party as well as by political opponents; however, some insisted that this move was not enough and called on her to immediately resign as chancellor.

"Not so much because new is always better but rather because it could give Merkel the freedom and the tail wind _ freed from party ties _ to put a final stamp on her legacy, possibly with bolder steps to reform the German economy and the monetary union", he said.

It came two weeks after a similar debacle for the CSU and Social Democrats in neighbouring Bavaria. "The CDU slumped to 27% in preliminary results in the state, the party's worst showing in the state since 1966 and a drop of 11 points since Hesse last went to the polls in 2013". We would now watch the situation closely, how it would unfold. He has feuded with her on and off for three years over Merkel's initially welcoming approach to migrants, and an argument between the pair in June over whether to turn back migrants at the German-Austrian border came close to bringing down her government.

In power as chancellor for 13 years, Merkel has become greatly weakened since last year's general election, when voters handed her an inconclusive result that forced her to form an uneasy coalition with the centre-left Social Democrats.

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The Social Democrats' leader, Andrea Nahles, demanded Sunday a "clear, binding timetable" for implementing government projects before the coalition faces an already-agreed midterm review next fall.

Merkel's first step towards the exit door is likely to send ripples across the European Union, where she has served a beacon of stability as bloc grapples with multiple global crises, Brexit and an unpredictable ally in the White House. 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. She praised the chancellor for giving the party a modern makeover.

Ms Merkel said she made the decision before the summer parliamentary recess and had planned the announcement for next week.

The arrival of more than a million asylum seekers since has not only left a deep chasm in German society, it has also empowered a far-right party that has upended German politics.

After Bavaria, the voters punished CDU and their coalition partners during yesterday's elections in Hessen, in the wake of the many months of internal strife.

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Mr Merz is among the many conservative men who have seen their political fortunes dwindle under Ms Merkel. There are some politicians in the CDU, I have named two - [the prime minister of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin] Lashet and [the prime minister of the state of Schleswig-Holstein, Daniel] Guenther - if they really follow in Merkel's footsteps, it will be just a change in name. She has led the CDU since 2000.

German DPA agency is reporting that Merkel "plans to continue on as chancellor".

"Merkel is resigning from the wrong post".

German media reported that she told a leadership meeting she would not run again, following gains for rival parties such as the far-right Alternative for Germany in state elections.

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