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Angela Merkel must leave on her own terms

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel seems to have a sense of liberation about her now; she handed over the leadership of her conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) to Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, popularly known as AKK, in December.

In fact, Merkel appears to be visibly enjoying her final go at the chancellorship. Free from the shackles of internal party politics, she now governs more outwardly. And according to the latest polls, most Germans want to see her remain in office as long as possible.

Read more: Angela Merkel's farewell leaves Germany at crossroads

Meanwhile, Kramp-Karrenbauer has been tending to the divisions within the CDU and carving out her own profile. She and Merkel bought time and leeway to prepare for an orderly transfer of power.

In theory, this sort of "division of labor" could continue for quite some time, and officially that is how it should play out. But the political reality is different: It will not be long before the chancellor completely relinquishes power.

AKK out to distinguish herself

Not only will German domestic politics define the coming year, with several important state........

© Deutsche Welle