‘She does not have the strength anymore!’ Merkel urged to step down amid coalition crisis

Merkel’s conservatives won a national election in September and the 63-year-old looks set to begin her third term in office, but her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party has been able to form a coalition with other German parties.

Talks on a three-way coalition with the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) collapsed in November and now the FDP’s Bundestag vice leader Michael Theurer has called for a fresh face to lead the CDU.

He told BILD: “The Union must have the courage to include new faces: Jens Spahn instead of Angela Merkel – that would work for us as the FDP!”

Jens Spahn, 38, is a young and combative member of the CDU who has repeatedly been touted as a possible replacement for Angela Merkel.

Merkel’s dwindling popularity following her handling of the recent migrant crisis in Europe has opened up divisions within her own party and Spahn has emerged as a potential challenger should the incumbent leader decide to step aside.

Theurer ruled out the possibility of a government alliance with the FDP while Merkel is still in control.

He said: “With all successes and her international reputation, Merkel stands for yesterday’s battles.

“Mrs Merkel has her merits: especially in foreign policy, and to some extend in managing the financial crisis. 

“But being just a crisis-chancellor is not enough. Modernisation is needed. 

“Obviously she does not have the strength anymore.”

He accused Merkel of “backroom politics”, “lulling rituals” and a deliberate “asymmetric demobilisation” of voters as he proposed reducing the length of time a German Chancellor can remain in power.

He said: “We should seriously think in Germany about a term limit for the Federal Chancellor. Konrad Adenauer’s was two years too long, Helmut Kohl’s as well. And it seems similar with Mrs Merkel. 

“In the US and France, the heads of government are allowed a maximum of two consecutive terms. 

“These two mother countries of democracy have their reasons for this. Democracy needs the change. Otherwise it will be stuck.”

Meanwhile, Merkel’s chances of completing a fourth term a chancellor were dealt another blow earlier this week after a YouGov poll revealed almost of voters now want the Chancellor to quit her four-year term early if she remains in power.

Of the 2,036 respondents, 47 per cent wanted Mrs Merkel to resign before 2021, up from 36 per cent in a poll taken in October.

And 36 per cent wanted the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader to serve a full term, compared to 44 per cent three months ago.

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg