German Chancellor Angela Merkel ruled out leaving office early, amid rising criticism from opposition and within her own party.
“I’m sitting here alive and kicking, and I’m planning on keeping on with my work,” Merkel told an audience in the Bavarian city of Augsburg in an interview with Augsburger Allgemeine Thursday evening.
Merkel, who has led the country as chancellor since 2005, has come under increased pressure in recent weeks over her handling of the firing of spy chief Hans-Georg Maaßen. In a rare public apology earlier this week, she admitted to having made mistakes in the case.
The defeat of her long-time ally Volker Kauder in a secret ballot on Wednesday to elect the leader of Merkel’s parliamentary group sent shockwaves through political circles in the German capital. Her party members’ choice to support challenger Ralph Brinkhaus was widely seen as a sign of the chancellor losing influence and led to claims — including from German Commissioner Günther Oettinger — that she has become a “lame duck.”
Speaking in Augsburg, Merkel again rejected calls from the opposition for a vote of confidence and stressed she is planning to run again for party chair in December, according to Süddeutsche Zeitung.
According to a poll published Friday, only 23 percent of respondents thought Merkel showed strong leadership in the past weeks, with 71 percent saying they disagreed. The chancellor’s personal approval ratings have dipped to 55 percent, down five percentage points since mid-September, the survey also found.
This article has been updated.