International desk: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has given an emotional farewell speech to her ruling Christian Democrats (CDU), as she steps down as party leader.
“Our liberal values must be defended, internally and externally,” she said, according to BBC report.
She hinted that she was backing Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to succeed her, praising her electoral performance as chief minister of Saarland.
Despite quitting as CDU leader Ms Merkel plans to remain German chancellor until her term ends in 2021.
Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer’s chief rival in Friday’s CDU vote is millionaire corporate lawyer Friedrich Merz.
The third candidate, health minister Jens Spahn, appears to have less chance of winning.
Ms Merkel’s speech was punctuated by applause and she got a standing ovation of more than six minutes at the end. CDU delegates at the congress in Hamburg also held up signs saying “Thanks boss”.
Then the conservative party paid tribute to Ms Merkel, 64, with a video showing highlights from her 18-year CDU leadership. The soundtrack was the 1960s hit Days, by The Kinks.