German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition faces its second test in as many weeks on Sunday when voters go to the polls in the western state of Hesse for a regional election that could torpedo the national government.
Despite her global standing, Merkel has no plans to seek a post in the European Commission after bowing out of German politics, the CDU source told AFP, despite speculation to that effect in Brussels.
Her decision came after poor showings in two regional elections and opens the door wide open for a leadership competition as the centrist German parties fight to keep their relevance in a highly fragmented political landscape. The chancellor of Germany is usually-but not always-the leader of his or her party.
She said she would not seek reelection as chancellor.
Merkel's announcement on Monday followed two state election debacles for the federal government's "grand coalition" of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavaria-only sister, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the centre-left Social Democrats.
Mrs Merkel has been chair of the CDU since 2000, becoming one of its longest-serving chairpersons.
Hesse Prime Minister and Christian Democratic top candidate Volker Bouffier reacts to supporters at a party's election party after first results of the Hesse state election announced in Wiesbaden, Germany, Oct. 28, 2018.
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The Department of Justice charged the suspect with 11 counts of criminal homicide, and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation. They joined religious leaders across all faiths at a vigil on Sunday in the honour of the victims of the shooting.
Taxi for Angela Merkel? According to Nahles, Merkel had been "ridiculed" as a woman from the very beginning, but she has stuck to her own managing style despite the criticism, and the CDU should be thankful to her.
"They decided the guidelines for Brexit and as Paul Lever makes clear in his book published recently called Berlin Rules - this is the "golden age of German power" - This will continue after Merkel".
Mrs Merkel's chief of staff, Helge Braun, said that the national government must now pull together and "show we are solving the problems that really move people".
Her term as Chancellor was expected to run until 2021. The Social Democrats only reluctantly joined her coalition in March, and another crisis or an already-agreed midterm review next fall could spell its end.
Potential successors include Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, General Secretary of the CDU; Jens Spahn, Health Minister; Armin Laschet, Prime Minister of North-Rhine-Westphalia; Julia Klöckner, Agriculture Minister; Daniel Günther, Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein and Friedrich Merz, former Merkel rival, now inactive.
Die Welt reporter Robin Alexander had earlier tweeted that said the path could now be clear for Merkel's chosen heir, CDU general secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, to take the reins if no other credible candidate emerges by December.
The unstable government nearly collapsed twice over the summer, notably when Merkel restrained hardline Interior Minister Horst Seehofer's attempts to toughen up migrant policy. The backlash, especially in less prosperous eastern Germany, was swift, giving rise to the AfD, which many Germans condemn as a neo-fascist party. "Any conceivable coalition in Berlin would still be dominated by the mainstream parties CDU/CSU, SPD, Greens and the smaller Liberals".