German Chancellor Angela Merkel is reportedly considering stepping down before her term ends in 2017. This, according to a German report. (Via Getty Images)
German magazine Der Spiegel, which is usually well-informed about Merkel's office, cites members of her cabinet in a report that claims the leader could resign to take on a new role as either the United Nations Secretary-General or President of the European Council.
The magazine explains: "Just about everyone around her, in her party or the cabinet, is convinced she will voluntarily leave office."
Merkel has been Germany's chancellor for nine years and remains popular. She's also often considered the most powerful woman in the world and Europe's most influential leader. So, this news could have huge consequences.
Following her re-election last year, Merkel had promised she would serve out a full term, and her spokesperson and colleagues have publicly denied that she might leave early. (Via Getty Images)
If the report is true, Merkel would become the first German leader to leave office of her own accord since 1949. (Via Getty Images)
There is some sense to the report. The timing, at least, does seem to work out.
Both the role of U.N. Secretary-General and European Council President will become available in 2017. And by convention, it is the turn of European to be Secretary-General. (Via Getty Images)
If Merkel were to step down early and not re-seek the chancellor's office in 2017, it's widely expected that her successor would be Ursula von der Leyen — the first woman to serve as the country's defense minister. (Via Getty Images)
Merkel's office has not commented on Der Spiegel's report.