Allies threaten to walk as Merkel suffers blow in regional elections

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday she would not seek re-election as party chairwoman and that her fourth term as chancellor would be her last, heralding the end of a 13-year era in which she has dominated European politics. "We haven't heard about serious contenders to replace her".

Ms Merkel, chancellor for 13 years, will have to invest her political capital and tactical acumen to keep together her loveless coalition, borne out of necessity seven months ago after an inconclusive federal election last year.

After 13 years with Merkel at the helm, a lot of them in coalition with the SPD, many Germans are exhausted of government by carefully-crafted compromise, calling instead for clear direction on pressing policy issues like migration, security, reform of the European Union and climate change.

In the vote for the central Hesse region's state legislature, the CDU managed a lucklustre win, with the SDP running neck-and-neck with the Greens for second place.

Angela Merkel is set to give up the leadership of her party in December, it has emerged.

Andrea Nahles, leader of the Social Democrats, on Sunday demanded a "clear, binding timetable" for implementing government projects before the coalition faces an already-agreed midterm review next fall.

"The election results show that people expect renewal from the CDU", conservative lawmaker Matern von Marschall told the Stuttgarter newspaper. On October 14, the Christian Social Union, or CSU - the Bavarian sister party to the CDU - lost its majority in the Bavarian state parliament.

"We went into the government because we really want to improve things - for families, for single parents, for caregivers", said Lars Klingbeil, the party's general secretary.

Propelled by the backlash to Merkel's migration policy into the federal Bundestag previous year, the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) is now represented in all 16 of Germany's state legislatures, after Hessian voters handed it a 12-percent score.

She intends to remain as chancellor until 2021, until the parliamentary term runs out, the Associated Press cited her saying.

Today the AfD sits in the national Bundestag and every state assembly, having poached millions of votes from Merkel's big-party alliance, which has plummeted in the polls and suffered a string of defeats.

For a start, Mrs Merkel's coalition...

The news that she would not seek the party chair again came as a shock to many CDU officials who believed the party's result in Hesse could have been worse. According to Deutsche Welle, as news of Merkel's move spread, Christian Lindner, who leads the center-right Free Democrats (FDP), said, "She's quitting the wrong office".

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