German Chancellor Angela Merkel may not serve her a full term, and could step down early rather than face defeat at the polls, according to a media report.
Merkel had been widely expected to complete her third term as Chancellor – the head of government in Germany – but Der Spiegel magazine reported over the weekend that she could leave the post before elections due in 2017. The article cited cabinet members and senior politicians from Germany’s CDU and CSU parties.
If Merkel did step down, she would be the first German Chancellor to do so since 1949. One possible successor could be Ursula von der Leyen, who is currently minister of Defense.
The German magazine said Merkel was interested in the role of European Council President, or the Secretary-General of the United Nations, with both roles due to come up in 2017.
Merkel’s spokesperson and party colleagues have denied speculation about how long she would stay in office, according to the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.
Far from everyone is convinced that Merkel is likely to cut short her time in office, with Nicholas Spiro, managing director of Spiro Sovereign Strategy, saying she was the “least likely” of the European political leaders to stand down.
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