Merkel Signals She’ll Decide Whether to Run Again by DecemberBy
Plan linked to decision to stand again for party leadership
Merkel’s CDU will hold party convention in early December
Angela Merkel shed a sliver of light on her deliberations regarding a potential fourth term as German chancellor, hinting that a decision will come by December.
While Merkel has been silent on whether she’ll run in next year’s federal election, she confirmed reports that she directly links remaining as leader of the Christian Democratic Union with becoming the party’s chancellor candidate. Her post as CDU chairwoman is up for renewal at the Dec. 4-6 party congress in Essen, Germany.
“It’s true that I’m of the opinion that chancellor and CDU chairwoman should go together,” Merkel told broadcaster RTL in an interview on Friday. “Yes, it belongs together.”
Even as most speculate that Merkel will run again, the re-election issue has cropped up as her popularity hits a five-year low in part over her stance on refugees. Support for her policies dropped to 45 percent last month, the lowest level since Aug. 2011. A poll in Bild am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday showed half those surveyed don’t want her to run again.
Volker Kauder, the CDU’s parliamentary caucus leader in the lower house, told reporters on Friday that while the decision remains open, “I’m very certain that she would be a good chancellor in the coming years.”
Merkel’s remarks come after speculation in the past week over whether the chancellor, who has led the German government for over a decade, would delay an announcement. Der Spiegel magazine reported last weekend that Merkel might hold out until next spring in order to gauge support from her Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, which has been harshly critical of her refugee policies.
That triggered a response from party leaders on Monday, who said re-electing her as head of the CDU would be inconceivable unless it was clear she planned to run again as chancellor.
Kauder’s counterpart in the CSU, Gerda Hasselfeldt, was asked whether her faction joined in applause in an internal party meeting over a renewed candidacy for Merkel. She declined to speak for the group.
“But I clapped,” she said.