German Chancellor Angela Merkel told leaders of her conservatives on Monday that she will not seek re-election as party chairwoman, senior party sources said, heralding the end of a 13-year era in which she has dominated European politics.
Merkel, 64, has been chairwoman of her conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) since 2000 and chancellor since 2005. Party sources said Merkel wants to remain chancellor until 2021, when the next federal election is due.
The announcement caused the euro to fall briefly and German government bond yields rose.
Stepping down as CDU chairwoman would further undermine Merkel's authority, which has already been dented this year by two regional election setbacks and a close ally losing his role as leader of her conservatives' parliamentary group.