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What Angela Merkel’s 2021 retirement from politics means for the future of Germany and Europe




German Chancellor and leader of the German Christian Democrats (CDU) Angela Merkel speaks at a press conference the day after elections in the state of Hesse on October 29, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.
German Chancellor and leader of the German Christian Democrats (CDU) Angela Merkel speaks at a press conference the day after elections in the state of Hesse on October 29, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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On Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that this, her fourth term, would be her last and that she would not seek re-election to the chairmanship of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party in 2021, nor would she continue on as chancellor.

Merkel, who has chaired the party since 2000 and been chancellor since 2005, told reporters in Berlin that she would not seek any political office in the future. Her presidency has fallen on rocky political times, as her and her party’s popularity has been decreasing steadily in Germany since 2015, when she chose to keep German borders open during Europe’s migrant crisis. Her announcement came after the CDU suffered crushing defeats in regional elections over the weekend, and Merkel said the results were a sign that it was time for change.

What does this mean for the future of Germany and Europe as a whole? Which party or politician is poised to take her place, and what will a change in the ruling party mean for German citizens?

Guest:

Griff Witte, Berlin bureau chief for The Washington Post; he tweets @griffwitte