Over the past two weeks, I've noticed two chat forums (state-run network of course) that had someone to suggest that Merkel might resign from the Chancellors office before the end of the year.
The suggestion given was that confidence was eroding and some new firm direction needed to be taken.....so the CDU Party would stand up and lay out the problem.
Germany, unlike the US....relies more upon the party apparatus, and senior party leadership. So, just because she resigned....wouldn't trigger a massive and chaotic mess.
Who would replace Merkel from the CDU? It is shaky ground. Ursula von der Leyen (defense minister) would be the likely person but she still has a audit going on with her degree, and the suggestion of a fraudulent thesis. It's been roughly a hundred days since they started the audit, and you'd think by now....they would have reached some conclusion. If they remove the degree....she will resign and leave politics (like the others).
Wolfgang Schauble is currently the finance minister and gives off high impressions. He's seventy-three and probably doesn't want to remain in politics after the 2017 election.
Thomas de Maiziere is currently the interior minister, and gives absolute confidence across the spectrum. He's 61 years old, and generally accepted by the public. As a political figure? He is simply stoic in nature.....no big speeches and no four-star enthusiasm.
Then you come to the final possibility....Peter Altmaier. He's the chief of staff for Merkel, and liked by the public. He's the guy to show up at chat forums and deliver four star arguments. He's got plenty of four-star enthusiasm. He's 57 years old and might have the best shot of the group.
My belief? I think Merkel will be around for all of 2016, and at least through the spring of 2017.