Mutti is ka­putti

Be­lea­guered Merkel says she’s step­ping down as Ger­many’s chan­cel­lor in 2021

Daily Mail - - Comment - By David Churchill Brus­sels Cor­re­spon­dent

AN­GELA Merkel’s 13-year reign will end in 2021, she re­vealed yes­ter­day.

The Ger­man Chan­cel­lor said she will not seek re-elec­tion at the next gen­eral elec­tion.

It comes fol­low­ing a dis­as­trous re­gional elec­tion in the western state of Hesse which trig­gered a po­lit­i­cal earth­quake in Berlin, once again push­ing Mrs Merkel’s frag­ile left-right coali­tion govern­ment to the brink.

Some ques­tioned whether she will last un­til 2021, with coali­tion part­ners the cen­tre-left So­cial Democrats sug­gest­ing they could pull the plug on prop­ping her up. Mrs Merkel, chan­cel­lor since 2005, an­nounced that she is also to step down as chair­woman of her Chris­tian Demo­cratic Union party in De­cem­ber, cre­at­ing the un­usual sit­u­a­tion of lead­ing the coun­try but not her party.

Re­fer­ring to fre­quent rows in her coali­tion Mrs Merkel yes­ter­day made it clear that ‘we can’t just re­turn to busi­ness as usual’. She said: ‘I bear re­spon­si­bil­ity for ev­ery­thing – for our suc­cesses, as well as our fail­ures.’ Stand­ing down as party leader would al­low the govern­ment to ‘con­cen­trate its en­er­gies on good gov­er­nance, adding it was ‘time to start a new chap­ter’.

The Ger­man chan­cel­lor’s power has been on the wane since her fate­ful 2015 de­ci­sion to throw Ger­many’s borders open, let­ting in more than one mil­lion peo­ple dur­ing the mi­grant cri­sis.

Out­spo­ken Ger­man MEP Han­sOlaf Henkel said Mrs Merkel, also known as ‘Mutti’, or mother, in her coun­try, would go down as the leader who largely fu­elled Brexit. He said: ‘ She re­fused to give David Cameron some flex­i­bil­ity over the con­trols of im­mi­gra­tion into the UK and contribute­d to the Bri­tish Brex­i­teers’ suc­cess through the per­ceived chaos of her refugee pol­icy.’

Tory MP An­drew Brid­gen joked that ‘Mutti is ka­putti’, adding her depar­ture ‘prob­a­bly al­lows the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion more scope to in­flict pun­ish­ment on the UK’.

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