Angela Merkel said Monday she will not seek a fifth term as chancellor, effectively beginning the winding down of her time as German leader.
Merkel announced that she will not be seeking any political posts after her term as chancellor ends in 2021. She added that she will also not stand for re-election as chairwoman of her Christian Democratic Union party when it holds an election for the post in December.
"This term is my last as chancellor," she said, according to a translation. "I will not be seeking re-election as a CDU lawmaker. I will not be seeking any political posts after the current terms ends in 2021," she added, in what was the first confirmation from the German leader that she will step down after being in power since 2005.
The announcement follows a disappointing regional election in the state of Hesse on Sunday.
Merkel, 64, will continue to lead the country even without being the head of the party. Another chair at the helm of the CDU would then have time to try to build up a popular presence with voters ahead of the next federal election in 2021.
Alluding to the fractious coalition government she leads, Merkel said the party would have secured better results in Hesse had it not been for the situation at the federal level. "The government has lost credibility," Merkel said at Monday's press conference.