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April 13, 2023
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, is stepping down from her position after 16 years in office.
With national elections set to occur this month, Merkel will transfer her position of power to her successor in the coming weeks. If the organization of a new German government extends past September 26th, Merkel will become the country’s longest-office holding politician with four terms. If it were to happen, Merkel would overtake Helmut Kohl’s record, who was her mentor when she joined the Christian Democrats party upon entering German politics.
In 1990, Merkel was elected to the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament. Nearly a decade later, Merkel criticized Kohl’s practices and called for his resignation, although she remained in the Christian Democrat party. In 2005, Merkel was elected as the first female German chancellor, now she is reaching the final year of her fourth term. Merkel is also the first chancellor to step down on her own terms.
Before leaving office, Merkel met with President Biden to discuss COVID-19 travel bans, relations with China and Russia, and protests in Cuba earlier this year. For years, critics suggested Merkel was too soft on foreign relations with countries like China. She also faced backlash for allowing over a million, primarily Syrian, refugees to seek asylum in Germany.
Issues pertaining to foreign relations and national security motivated Germany’s right-wing party, Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), to increase its political presence and influence. Still, national support for Merkel remains strong after a decade and a half as chancellor.
ARTICLE: ANTOINETTE AHO
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: BROOKINGS.EDU