April 5, 2011 - 0:0

German foreign minister quits as liberal party leader

@H=BERLIN (Xinhua) -- German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle announced Sunday that he would resign next month as leader of the Free Democrats (FDP) amid mounting pressure over his party's disastrous defeats in recent regional elections.
“After 10 years as party leader, I will not stand for the post at next party congress in May,” Westerwelle said in a briefing.
“It is an unusual day for me, but I am sure that it is the right decision to start with a change of new generations in the FDP,”he said.
Westerwelle said he has made the decision earlier Sunday after returning from a visit to China and Japan, adding that he would keep his position in federal government as Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister.
“I will continue to work with all my strength for the success of the liberals, for the success of the FDP,” he told reporters.
Westerwelle's decision ended days of speculation over his political future, after his Free Democrats, also the junior party in Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right coalition, suffered a series of disastrous defeats in recent regional elections.
In last week's election in Baden-Wurttemberg State, the pro- business FDP barely remain in parliament with 5.3 percent of votes, losing nearly half of supporters compared with last time.