Over the weekend: German election results putting pressure on Merkel

Merkel Faces Test of Her Authority in German Regional Vote

Ms Merkel, chancellor for 13 years, will have to invest her political capital and tactical acumen to keep together her loveless coalition, borne out of necessity seven months ago after an inconclusive federal election last year.

Ms Nahles said yesterday she would propose a roadmap to allow the SPD to measure the progress of the ruling coalition, which has been plagued by infighting, at a mid-term review next year.

Electoral momentum is on the side of newer parties, more tightly focused on a narrow range of issues. Merkel's party managed an unimpressive win, narrowly salvaging a majority for its regional governing coalition with the Greens in Hesse.

She said she would stay on as German Chancellor until her term expires in 2021.

She said that "the state of the government is unacceptable", demanding a clear and binding timetable for the implementation of projects.

The Greens' strong performance in Hesse means Bouffier will likely be able to remain state premier at the helm of a CDU/Greens government.

Merkel made the announcement on the day after Sunday's vote in Hesse in a speech to mark the 20th anniversary of the German Federal Government Commission for Culture and the Media (BKM).

The decision to stand down from the CDU chairmanship signifies Merkel-who has been chancellor since 2005-is aware her time at the top of German politics is nearing its end.

The country's far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) on Sunday secured about 12% of the vote and will enter the region's assembly for the first time.

Merkel's ruling coalition "has lost the confidence of the electorate", said Josef Joffe, publisher-editor of weekly Die Zeit.

Nor did the veteran leader's fourth government get off to a good start after its formation earlier this year, with two rows over relatively minor points bringing it to the brink of collapse over the summer.

She told a closed Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leadership meeting on Monday morning that she would not run as its chair in December, Deutsche Welle and Bloomberg reported. Nahles' comments show the SPD will put more pressure on the conservatives to deliver policy results for the center-left party.

Merkel's ruling Christian Democratic Union, now in a strained coalition with the German Social Democrat Party (SPD), took home just 27.2% of the electoral vote, a steep decline from the previous Hesse election's 38.3% in 2013; the SPD also saw a decline in take-home votes, falling from 30.7% to 19.6%, their worst election results in the region since 1946, and the left side of Merkel's ruling coalition saw themselves on equal footing with their nearest competition, the Greens, who also took 19.6%.

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