Angela Merkel won't seek re-election as CDU party leader - German media

German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces another major blow as Germans go to the polls in Hesse

German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces another major blow as Germans go to the polls in Hesse

She will also have to contend with pressure from her Social Democrat (SPD) junior coalition partners, who have also bled support in Hesse and are under pressure to rethink their alliance with Ms Merkel.

Merkel's 13 years as chancellor have piled up baggage from repeated compromise-laden "grand coalitions" with the SPD, as well as a fateful 2015 decision to keep Germany's borders open, ultimately allowing in more than one million migrants.

However, the battle scarred Mrs Merkel is a political survivor - our correspondent adds - and renouncing the leadership of her party might just silence critics within her own ranks, for now.

The CDU's poor result in Hesse, after its sister party in the state of Bavaria, the CSU, suffered its worst result there since 1950 two weeks ago, may turbo-charge a debate about who succeeds Merkel and when.

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News agency dpa cited unidentified party sources in its report Monday as the leadership of Merkel's party met following a state election in which both her conservative Christian Democratic Union and its partners in the national government, the center-left Social Democrats, lost significant ground.

The CDU has governed Hesse for almost 20 years, and the party campaigned on an enviable record in the state of ultra-low unemployment, high wages and minimal crime.

The AfD, meanwhile, gained 12 percent of the votes.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will quit as head of her Christian Democratic party after nearly two decades, a person familiar with the matter said, a dramatic sign of her waning authority that will raise questions about her staying power as chancellor.

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Polls point to both CDU state premier and loyal Merkel follower Volker Bouffier and his SPD challenger Thorsten Schaefer-Guembel suffering heavy losses compared with 2013. In the last election, in 2013, the parties scored 38.3%.

Back in 2013, the CDU had to make a coalition with the Alliance 90/The Greens after the election resulted in no clear victor.

Short of an end to the coalition, internal frustration in the CDU could bubble up in a weak score for Merkel when she stands for re-election as party leader in December - or even a surprise victory for a challenger.

Armed with Nahles's checklist, by September 2019 the SPD "will be able to see whether this government is still the right place for us", the party leader said in an implicit threat to the chancellor. Merkel's party managed an unimpressive win, narrowly salvaging a majority for its regional governing coalition with the Greens.

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Merkel has dragged the CDU to the political center in her years as leader, dropping military conscription, introducing benefits encouraging fathers to look after their young children, and abruptly accelerating the shutdown of Germany's nuclear power plants following Japan's Fukushima disaster in 2011. The CDU is due to elect a new party chair at a conference in December.

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