Angela Merkel received a standing ovation for more than six minutes at the end of her speech when she stepped down as CDU party leader in 2018.
Merkel opened her speech by emphasising the party conference's motto, "Zusammenführen. Und zusammen führen" (Bring together and lead together). She used her opening remarks to remind the audience how far the party had progressed under her guidance. Following her farewell speech at a conference in Hamburg, she received a six-minute standing ovation. Many CDU delegates at the congress waved orange signs that said, "Thanks, boss!."
Merkel's address, BBC News reports, cautioned complex issues ahead, including environmental issues, maintaining European unity, and dealing with Brexit. She reminisced about the CDU's electoral triumphs in 2017. She underlined the CDU's commitment to human dignity, and she complimented former U.S. President George H.W. Bush and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl with bringing Germany together in 1990. Chancellor expressed "overwhelming gratitude" for having had the role of CDU leader. "The future will test our values... we must always approach work joyfully," she said.
Merkel, 64, was honored by the conservative party with a video featuring highlights from her 18-year tenure as CDU leader. Days, a song by the Kinks from the 1960s, served as the soundtrack. Merkel was named Chancellor in 2005 and will not run for re-election after 2021, reports BBC News.