The powerful state premier of Hesse, Roland Koch, has announced he is to step down.
The deputy leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat Union, will quit at the end of August.
Koch, 52, recently clashed with the Chancellor over budget cuts when she dismissed his controverisal suggestion that education and welfare should be examined as areas to reduce spending.
Germany’s economy is under intense pressure as a result of the multi-billion euro bail out package it agreed to help stabilize the eurozone.
But Koch insists his decision has nothing to do with his differences with Merkel and that he has achieved his goal of bringing a long-term center-right majority to the state of Hesse.
Koch, long seen as a rising star in the CDU with ambitions for higher office, told a news conference in the Hessian capital Wiesbaden that he would return to work as a lawyer or in the private sector, though he would remain politically active.