Angela Merkel has said she will step down from her role as German chancellor in 2021, as well as resign as leader of the Christian Democratic Union party after 18 years at the helm.
Ms Merkel, 64, has led the CDU since 2000 and has been Germany's chancellor since 2005.
Announcing her departure, she said it was "time to start a new chapter", adding she will not seek any other political office after the current Parliamentary term ends in 2021.
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The Daily Telegraph's Europe editor, Peter Foster, told talkRADIO's Julia Hartley-Brewer that Ms Merkel stepping down was a "manifestation" of the "fragmentation of European politics".
Appearing on the breakfast show to discuss the announcement, he said Ms Merkel had accepted she could "no longer rule the roost".
"Germany is by far the most powerful economic nation, massive surpluses, booming along and yet still, a succession of election results show that the old parties, Ms Merkel's centre-right CDU and the SPD, the progressive socialist party, shrinking in the polls." Mr Foster said.
"What she's done is a tactical retreat here where she's given up leadership of the party and she's staying in the chancellorship.
"The question is whether or not she can then hang on. Is the smell of political blood in the water so strong now that she will go? Her plan is to stay until the end of 2021, she won't fight the next election, but once a politician admits to their own mortality in a way, it doesn't take long before the sharks start to circle."