German Chancellor Angela Merkel reacts as she attends a news conference following the Hesse state election in Berlin, Germany, October 29, 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
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Germany's Angela Merkel said that her fourth term as chancellor would be her last and that she would step down as leader of the Christian Democrats (CDU), heralding the end of a 13-year era in which she has dominated European politics.Merkel, who has been CDU chairwoman since 2000 and chancellor since 2005, announced the decision after her party suffered its second regional election setback in as many weeks signaling the beginning of the end at the helm for the woman many had labeled the "leader of the free world". Stepping down as CDU chairwoman further undermines Merkel's authority, as she had previously said the party chair and chancellery should be held by the same person.Monday's news came as a surprise to CDU party officials, who had expected Merkel to seek re-election at a party congress in Hamburg in December.Merz lost his post as the party's parliamentary leader to Merkel in 2002 and has been absent from frontline politics in recent years.
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