Angela Merkel on Sunday left open a long-awaited decision regarding whether she will stand again as chancellor in next year's election, amid tensions in her ruling coalition and a dip in opinion polls.
The German leader told public broadcaster ARD she will decide "in due course" whether to seek a fourth term in office, echoing her previous comments on whether she will head up her conservative Christian Democrats’ (CDU) campaign next year.
The weekly news magazine Der Spiegel reported on Saturday that Merkel had been forced to delay the announcement until next year due to tensions with the CDU's Bavarian-based allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU), over the chancellor's stance on refugees.
However, leading CDU members believe Merkel will announce she is seeking another term around the time of the party's annual conference in December, when Merkel will stand as CDU chief for another two years.
Analysts say it is unlikely that Merkel would be able to stand as party head unless also planned to run again as chancellor in elections set for September next year.
Merkel's public approval rating has slumped in the wake of the refugee crisis that emerged a year ago and the friction it has caused with the CSU.
Half of Germans do not want Angela Merkel to serve another term as chancellor, a survey published Sunday has found.
The survey, conducted by polling company Emnid for the newspaper Bild am Sonntag, showed that 50 per cent of participants opposed another term for Merkel. Forty-two per cent were in favour.
Among CDU supporters, 70 per cent wanted their party leader to remain in office beyond the next parliamentary election in 2017. Only 22 per cent did not want her to continue in the post.
Should she win another term, Merkel could potentially beat the record for time in office set by Helmut Kohl who served as chancellor for 16 years from 1982 to 1998.