Merkel urges companies to switch focus from Asia to Africa

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These decisions follow months of destabilising intra-government disputes over issues such as migration and security that almost led to the break-up of cabinet twice since Merkel's fourth administration came into power in March 2018.

Weber, a possible contender to take over leadership of the CSU, said changes were clearly needed for the party after it lost its absolute majority in regional elections on October 14.

Whoever takes over as leader of the CDU will have little interest in calling new elections - indeed, the governing CDU and SPD leadership teams both understand the need to demonstrate at least competence to voters, and have six months in which to push scandal and argument into the shadows. This decision flooded Germany, and by extension most of Europe, with hundreds of thousands of migrants, many of whom were unwilling to assimilate into their European host cultures. Lueder Gerken from the Center for European Politics said that after announcing her decision, "the chancellor will hardly be able to convince the world that she can continue to be the guarantor of a certain degree of stability in the EU". That could pressure party leader Andrea Nahles to abandon the coalition with Merkel.

Christian Democrats will elect their new chair at an upcoming party conference in December in Hamburg.

Merz offered the traditional conservative wing of the CDU "the promise that everything can be as it was before", said the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

Merkel - whose familiar face would be on a Mount Rushmore of contemporary European leaders if one were carved - succumbed to political reality after several poor showings in state elections that showed voters moving to alternative parties on either side of her center-right Christian Democrats.

Merkel's words from past years immediately resurfaced, when she said that one can not be chancellor without being the head of their party.

I see it as an attempt to give her own party and the country some time to enter into an important and very complex phase of transition. "The chancellor will not leave right away", the official said on condition of anonymity.

He makes no predictions and thinks "everything is possible". Like so many before her, Merkel has stayed in power past her optimal exit date.

Reiterating his call for political solutions in the Middle East's conflict, Sisi said that he exchanged views with Merkel on the latest developments concerning conflicts in the Middle East, reviewing efforts to find peaceful solutions to them. The AfD, still largely a one-issue-party, will be in an observer's position.

"Consequently, it will be interesting to see in how far the party will use this opportunity to change direction, or whether it will maintain Merkel's course in all but name". With all the "problem children" we have in the AfD, they also exist in the other parties.