At 67, Angela Merkel, consecutively fourth time serving Chancellor of Germany chooses not to run for the fifth time. This sentence alone manages to capture the essence of personality of this remarkable woman, at the helm of the biggest economy in Europe at most crucial of times. In November 2018, Merkel stepped down as leader of the Christian Democratic Union and announced she wouldn’t seek another term as chancellor in 2021
She contemplated not running even for the fourth term, but the main reason she ran was Donald Trump. After he was elected in November 2016., she decided she couldn’t leave the West exposed to so much change at once. There was also French election coming up with Marine Le Pen of extreme right strong in the polls. Brexit was just starting to become reality. So, at that point she decided that “Even if I would consider it best to have a democratic change in Germany, it is far too dangerous right now.” People who know her better say she ran for a fourth term because she felt responsible. She felt that she needed to “finish her job.”
The thing that distinguishes her from most other politicians is that she’s genuinely not needy. She genuinely doesn’t need politics to be happy.
Angela Merkel is this and much more. Born to a father who was a protestant priest in Hamburg, East Germany, Merkel holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry from the Academy of Sciences in Berlin for her thesis on quantum chemistry.
Merkel spent her first 35 years living in Soviet-controlled East Germany until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. That historic shift prompted Merkel to abandon scientific work and embrace a lifelong interest in politics, steadily ascending the ranks of a newly unified German government.
Elected chancellor in 2005, Merkel is the first East German to hold her nation’s highest elective office. When she steps down, she will be Germany’s second-longest-serving leader of the modern era, after her former mentor, Helmut Kohl. Chancellor Helmut Kohl had good instincts and choosing her as a successor was a good move. The speed in which she took on politics after ’89, especially when she joined the first unified German cabinet in ’91 is breath-taking
first female Chancellor of Germany, her leadership is marked by her steely reserve, from standing up to Donald Trump to allowing more than a million Syrian refugees into Germany, managing Ukraine war crisis, bailout package for Greece and bringing successs to Paris climate summit
An authentic leader, she knows who she is and does not try to be anything other. Possessing a set of strong values, she understood Germany’s history exceedingly well. Many people on both sides of the Atlantic saw her as a figure of hope.
Though she has become a political animal, her private character, the base on which all of this stands, has changed remarkably little. She’s a very down-to-earth woman and very self-critical. Merkel is motivated by a perspective that says, “What is impossible can be made possible.”. Her position on the migration crisis and her statement “Wir schaffen das” (“We can do it”) is a case in point. Merkel looks at a situation and then looks at its possibilities, not its obstacles
She hates standing at a party conference giving a speech and being applauded. She is physically uncomfortable being pushed into the limelight. For years, public speaking was visibly painful to Merkel, her hands a particular source of trouble; eventually, she learned to bring her fingertips together in a diamond shape over her stomach.
She never has any doubt that she is right. she was solely alone, especially during the refugee crisis. She never had any doubt that she was doing the right thing.
During Syrian refugee crisis decision, she was determined to never build new fences in Germany against people who are refugees of civil wars and who only want to save their lives and the lives of their children. To understand her position, one should remember that she lived in East Germany, which was divided from West Germany through a fence. It was her deep conviction that it is her duty to help people who are in danger
In nearly every European or international negotiation during the last decade, she played a very important role. Without her, it would have not been possible to stop the war in the east of Ukraine. It was her who convinced the heads of state and government to participate at the Paris Climate Summit in 2015.
In her chancellorship, German society became more welcoming and more liberal. Where all Western societies were engulfed by racial issues or gender issues, she pushed her conservative party extremely to the center and changed the political landscape. Germans call her Mutti, which is short for Mommy. Mommy Merkel.
Also, during her chancellorship, this country grew into being the central balancing moderating power in Europe, leading the European Union, Now, with Britain dropping out of that equation, and France with President Emmanuel Macron engulfed in domestic problems, this role of keeping Europe together falls to Germany. She managed the role of leading without dominating.