Merkel: conservatives face a tough battle after 16 years in office

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Chancellor Angela Merkel said nobody in her conservative bloc had ever doubted that they faced a tough battle to hold on to the chancellery after her 16 years in office, adding that she did not want to speculate on the outcome of Germany’s Sept. 26 national election.

“That after 16 years one does not automatically … return to the chancellery, that was clear to everyone in the CDU and CSU,” she told a news conference on Thursday, adding that she anticipated a closely fought election.

Merkel is not running for a historic fifth term in the election, and Armin Laschet, the conservatives’ candidate to succeed her, is struggling in polls, which show Finance Minister Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats in the lead. 

Photo: A file photo of German Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). EPA-EFE/CHRISTIAN BRUNA