Merkel says planned exit will not hurt her for­eign stand­ing

The National - News - - NEWS WORLD -

Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel yes­ter­day said she did not ex­pect her global in­flu­ence to be di­min­ished in the run-up to her planned exit from pol­i­tics in 2021, even as the race to suc­ceed her gath­ered pace.

Mrs Merkel said on Mon­day she would not stand for re-elec­tion in De­cem­ber as leader of her cen­tre-right CDU party, but that she planned to see out her fourth term as Ger­man leader.

The tran­si­tion pe­riod set by Mrs Merkel is a long time in pol­i­tics, and even CDU stal­warts are doubt­ful whether she can hold on to power un­til the end of her man­date.

De­spite the un­cer­tain­ties, Mrs Merkel, 64, in­sisted that she would not be ham­strung on the world stage.

“Noth­ing will change in my bar­gain­ing po­si­tion in in­ter­na­tional ne­go­ti­a­tions,” the vet­eran leader said. “One might even say that I now have more time to con­cen­trate on my tasks as govern­ment leader,” she said, given that she would no longer be CDU party chief from De­cem­ber. An­a­lysts are not so sure. Lueder Gerken from the Cen­tre for Euro­pean Pol­i­tics said that af­ter an­nounc­ing her de­ci­sion, “the chan­cel­lor will hardly be able to con­vince the world that she can con­tinue to be the guar­an­tor of a cer­tain de­gree of sta­bil­ity in the EU”.

Ob­servers also note that she is no longer in charge of Ger­many’s po­lit­i­cal cal­en­dar.

“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.

Wolf­gang Schaeu­ble, pres­i­dent for the Ger­man par­lia­ment said “there are three years to go in the leg­is­la­ture pe­riod. We will see if that will re­ally be the case”.

“She is maybe now no longer as strong as [she was] at the peak of her suc­cess,” Mr Schaeu­ble said.

An im­por­tant fac­tor would be who ends up tak­ing over from “the eter­nal chan­cel­lor”, in power for 13 years and at the helm of her party for 18.

Three candidates plan to stand for the job, in­clud­ing CDU gen­eral sec­re­tary An­negret Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer, health min­is­ter Jens Spahn and for­mer chief of the party’s par­lia­men­tary group Friedrich Merz.

EPA

An­gela Merkel has been Ger­man chan­cel­lor for the past 13 years and head of her Chris­tian Demo­cratic Union party for 18

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