18:44 GMT24 February 2020
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    Angela Merkel, who has been the CDU's head since 2000 and German chancellor since 2005, announced in November that she would not run for the party's leadership or seek a fifth term as chancellor in 2021, setting a deadline for her exit from German politics.

    Germany's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) convened in Hamburg on Friday, December 7, for the party's Annual Congress where 1,001 delegates are expected to elect a new party chair and other internal leaders.

    "I was honoured to be the chairman of this great, magnificent, proud, only centrist party in Germany — the Christian Democratic Union. I tried to fulfil this task with passion and dedication… I always wanted to fulfil my duties while holding state and party political posts with dignity and to leave them at due time, because everything happens in its own good time. And now it's time to open a new chapter. Now, at this hour, at this moment I am overwhelmed with one single, overshadowing feeling, this feeling of gratitude. It was a great joy for me, it was a great honour. Thank you," Merkel told the party congress in Hamburg.

    Follow Sputnik's live feed to find out more.

    After these words, the delegates of the Congress gave Merkel a nearly twenty-minute applause, some wept, many held posters saying "Thank you, chief, for 18 years of CDU leadership."

    READ MORE: X Day for Christian Democrats: CDU to Choose Merkel's Successor Amid Party Split

    Angela Merkel will hand over the party's reins of power, as well as problems yet to be solved, to one of three candidates that the CDU will choose at the Congress.

    The favourites are CDU General Secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, and Friedrich Merz, a former leader of the party's parliamentary group. Health Minister Jens Spahn is considered the outsider.


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    successor, elections, Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU), Angela Merkel, Germany
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