German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday she is “absolutely not” planning to stand for reelection to a fifth term despite her overwhelming popularity.
“No, absolutely not,” Merkel told reporters from public broadcaster ZDF, saying her decision was “very firm”.
The 65-year-old chancellor enjoys unparallelled popularity in her home country, with 71 percent of people saying they were satisfied with her performance in a poll for public broadcaster ARD also published Thursday.
Her ratings have climbed as Germany has suffered comparatively less than some European neighbours through the coronavirus crisis.
Merkel’s conservative CDU party is set to elect a new leader at the end of 2020 who would then become presumptive candidate to succeed her in the chancellery at federal elections in autumn next year.
Without a political office to keep him in the public eye, the star of her historic rival Friedrich Merz has lost some of its shine.
Other candidates include Armin Laschet, premier of Germany’s most populous state North Rhine-Westphalia.
Meanwhile some observers have highlighted the strongman performance of Bavarian premier Markus Soeder through the pandemic, who as chief of the CDU’s regional CSU allies could also throw his hat into the federal ring come next year.