Tobias Hans, German Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party prime minister in the western state of Saarland, has urged the country's Christian Social Union (CSU) party leader Horst Seehofer to step down.
"The fact is that [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel has given an example of how to take responsibility after a poor election result. Angela Merkel has managed to deliver a self-determined departure as party leader, this is also my wish for colleague Horst Seehofer," Hans said in an interview with the Die Welt newspaper.
His remarks came a day after Merkel said that she would not participate in the CDU leadership contest in December and would step down as federal chancellor in 2021.
She revealed that she'd made the decision to drop out of the competition for the party leadership before the parliament’s summer recess.
"I do know this hasn't been done before, it is unprecedented, but I believe it offers far more opportunities than risks for the country, for the German government and for my party," Merkel said at a press conference after a closed-door meeting with her fellow CDU members.
She stressed that it was "time to start a new chapter," as she has taken responsibility for her fourth-term government's poor start and voiced a need for changes. Merkel admitted that her party would have secured better results in Hesse's regional election if not for its performance at the federal level.
He was echoed by French President Emanuel Macron who said that Merkel's decision to quit "deserves respect" and that the chancellor's 13-year-rule was "very courageous".
Right now, an array of CDU politicians are reportedly willing to succeed Merkel as party leader, including CDU party secretary general Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, and Health Minister Jens Spahn.