German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she will not seek re-election as the head of her party, according to unnamed party sources.
The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader told her party that despite stepping away from the leadership role, she wanted to remain chancellor.
German media, along with the DPA news agency, quoted unnamed party sources for the information.
Ms Merkel has been the CDU’s chairwoman since 2000 and chancellor since 2005.
The news followed a poor result in the Hesse state election yesterday, where both Ms Merkel’s CDU and its partners in national government, the Social Democrats, lost ground.
They also had a poor result in Bavarian elections earlier this month.
Ms Merkel had previously indicated that she planned to seek another two-year term as the CDU leader at a party congress in December.
Standing down from the party chair would allow a new CDU chairman or woman to build a profile before the next national election, due in 2021.
Ms Merkel’s favoured successor is CDU party secretary-general Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.
Ms Merkel’s weakness at home may limit her capacity to lead in the European Union at a time when the bloc is dealing with Brexit, a budget crisis in Italy and the prospect of populist parties making gains at European parliament elections next May.
More to come.