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Talk of Merkel's Departure Soars as CDU Chief Calls Snap Party Summit – Reports

© AP Photo / Markus SchreiberChristian Democratic Union Chairwoman and German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for a faction meeting of her ruling Christian Union parties at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018.
Christian Democratic Union Chairwoman and German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for a faction meeting of her ruling Christian Union parties at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. - Sputnik International
Speculations about the German chancellor’s stepping down have been circulating over recent months after she refused to seek re-election as the leader of her Christian Democratic Union in 2018. Some predicted that Angela Merkel was going to quit earlier than her term ends in 2021 and have suggested that she could continue her career in the EU.

The current CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has invited the Federal Board of her party to an unscheduled behind-closed-doors meeting, the German outlet Die Welt reports. The CDU leadership will allegedly meet on 1 and 2 June after the European elections, scheduled for the end of May. According to the outlet, the closed gathering might be a sign that Kramp-Karrenbauer is aiming for "changes in political Berlin" following the vote and prompted speculations of a government reshuffle or even Chancellor Angela Merkel’s early resignation.

The newspaper points out that the last time the CDU leadership was called for such a meeting was after Merkel had announced she would not seek re-election as the party chair, giving way to her rumoured ally Kramp-Karrenbauer. 

As n-tv.de reported, sources from the CDU board have confirmed the date of the meeting but referred to the claims about Merkel’s resignation as sheer speculations.

READ MORE: Merkel Has Done Too Much Damage to EU Cohesion to Replace Juncker – Analyst

The coalition agreement between the CDU/CSU and the Social Democrats, who built the government in Germany, has a revision clause, allowing an inventory of this deal in the middle of the legislative period, and an "opt-out” clause. New CDU chairwoman Kramp-Karrenbauer earlier made it clear that the CDU could use this clause and announced in March that this mid-term review could also be moved forward if the economic situation required it. According to the German news agency DPA, the summit after the European election should discuss the results of the tax estimate and priorities it needs to set.

Speculations about Merkel’s stepping down have been fueled of late after she was a no-show for an election campaign in Muenster this weekend and reports that she would only appear at the final event in Munich. However, the reshuffle might face hurdles in the Bundestag and the coalition government.

READ MORE: Germany's CDU Already Has Plan for Merkel's Midterm Resignation – Report

SPD General Secretary Lars Klingbeil recently indicated that the Social Democrats will not elect the CDU leader Kramp-Karrenbauer as Chancellor for the remaining legislative period. 

"We have entered into a coalition under Angela Merkel. We have chosen Angela Merkel, that's all there is to it”, he told the newspaper Saarbrücker Zeitung.

Merkel’s term as the German chancellor ends in 2021. In December 2018, she stepped down as the leader of the Christian Democratic Union, vacating the post for her long-time ally Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, stating that she will not run for re-election for the country’s top job after this legislative term ends. Since then, there has been speculation about her resigning before 2021 and shifting to Brussels, although she has claimed that she does not plan to continue her career in any political office.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, however, recently revealed his belief that Angela Merkel “would be highly qualified" for a top post within the EU in an interview with Germany's Funke Media Group.

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