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Merkel could announce bid for fourth term this week: Conservative party

Merkel has said that she will announce her bid for the?general election expected in Sept or Oct 2017 "at the appropriate time". Photograph:( Getty )

WION Berlin, Germany Nov 18, 2016, 01.36 PM (IST)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to announce her bid for a fourth term in next year elections at a surprise news conference announced by her conservative party on Friday.

Merkel, 62, will address reporters at 1800 GMT Sunday after a meeting of leaders of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, news agency AFP reported.

German media and senior conservatives have speculated for weeks that Merkel will declare her candidacy ahead of her party's annual congress starting December 6.

Her candidature will be welcome after the instability from Brexit and Donald Trump's win in US elections. Polls show that a Merkel re-election bid has a strong chance of succeeding, AFP reported. Merkel is widely considered Europe's most powerful leader.

Merkel has said that she will announce her bid for the general election expected in Sept or Oct 2017 "at the appropriate time".

She repeated the line with a smile at a joint news conference with outgoing US President Barack Obama in Berlin Thursday, AFP said.

Obama praised her as an "outstanding partner" and said he "might" have supported her if he was German and had a vote.

"It's up to her whether she wants to stand again... but if I were here and I were German and I had a vote, I might support her," he said.

Despite her popularity, Merkel has been criticised for her decision of letting more than one million asylum seekers in Germany over the last two years. However, observers hold Merkel as the defender of Western values, some even calling her the new "leader of the free world", as Barack Obama prepares to hand over White House to president-elect Trump.

Right-wing Alternative for Germany party (AfD) has gained more popularity due to Germans' anxiety about migration and Merkel's policies.

A poll released Friday showed that Merkel`s conservatives would draw 32 per cent of the vote if the election were held this weekend, AFP reported.

(WION with inputs from AFP)