The Wall Street Journal: Merkel protégé elected to become head of Germany’s CDU party

HAMBURG—Angela Merkel bowed out of party politics on Friday as her conservatives elected a close ally of the chancellor to succeed her as head of her party, beginning what could be an protracted twilight for one of Europe’s most resilient leaders.

In an emotional speech marking the end of her 18 years as leader of the country’s largest political party, Merkel bade farewell to her troops.

“I know I have at times tested your nerves. It is now time to start a new chapter. It was a great joy, and a great honor,” Merkel said. Her speech was met with a nine-minute standing ovation.

Her decision, announced in October, not to run again as chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union, crowned almost two decades of an increasingly controversial political reign that, in recent months, had seen the party’s grass roots turn against her policies.

An expanded version of this article appears at WSJ.com

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