Angela Merkel will step down as German chancellor when her mandate ends in 2021, a party source told AFP on Monday, following a series of political crises and regional vote debacles rocking her fragile coalition.
Ms. Merkel had earlier informed her centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU) that she would not stand again to be the party chairman at a congress in December to make way for new leadership.
"There is no obvious challenger", Campbell said, "but Merkel may have to leave sooner than she expected and on terms chosen by her party, not her".
Losing ground to their non-mainstream rivals in a series of recent elections, including Local votes in Hesse and Bavaria and the national election a year ago has been viewed as unacceptable by many in a nation which has until recently instinctively tied itself to the centre ground.
Angela Merkel said, "Today it is time to begin a new chapter".
But at home, even a change-averse electorate has started to grow tired of the leader dubbed "Mutti" (Mummy) and the cautious and glacial style of consensus politics her coalition government is now associated with. Merkel is only the third chancellor of a reunified Germany.
Merkel has loomed large on the European stage since 2005, helping guide the EU through the euro zone crisis and opening Germany's doors to migrants fleeing war in the Middle East in 2015 - a move that still divides the bloc and Germany.
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Oladipo and Bogdanovic hit 3-pointers, and Collison knocked down a jumper from the corner and scored in the lane, to lead 81-66. James dominated with 28 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds in his 74th career triple-double - the first with his new team.
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In Hesse, both her centre-right CDU and its coalition partners, the Social Democrats, were 10% down on the previous poll there - even though they remain in power.
Known as the "mini-Merkel", 56-year-old Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer - former state premier of tiny Saarland - is a loyal follower of the chancellor's centrist line that has shaped CDU and German politics over the past two decades. Merkel's party managed an unimpressive win, narrowly salvaging a majority for its regional governing coalition with the Greens.
Thomas Heilmann, a CDU member of the Bundestag, said the party's elected officials were relieved by Merkel's choice.
"With unresolved issues in the Eurozone, budget issues with Italy and the potential for a bumpy Brexit, the European Union will be looking to Merkel and Macron for leadership", he explained.
Often hailed as the world's most powerful woman and Europe's de facto leader, a weakened Merkel has faced growing calls to spell out her succession plans after 13 years in power. This rout comes just two weeks after Bavaria's state election, which was also a disappointing result for the conservative Christian Social Union, the CDU's Bavarian sister party.
"This term is my last as chancellor", Merkel said and added that she would not seek any political posts after her current term ends in 2021.
Her proposal did little to appease the head of the SPD's youth wing, who said the election in Hesse was a clear signal that the ruling coalition was not viable.