The comments, reported by the German media, came as the premier met with the leadership of her CDU Christian democratic following heavy losses in regional elections in the state of Hesse.
It has been widely assumed in Germany that this term, which began in 2017, would be Ms Merkel’s last, but there had been no official confirmation of this.
Earlier in the meeting, Ms Merkel had reportedly told party chiefs that she would not run again for the leadership of her party at a conference in December.
This could leave her in the position of staying as Chancellor while not being the leader of her own party.
Ms Merkel has been leader of her party since 2000 and was elected as chancellor in 2005. If she makes it to the end of her term in 2021 she will be the second longest serving Chancellor in the history of the German federal republic, surpassed by only Helmut Kohl.
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