'Eternal' Chancellor: Germany's Merkel To Hand Over Power
Muhammad Irfan Published December 05, 2021 | 09:30 AM
Berlin, Dec 5 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 5th Dec, 2021 ) :She was called "the leader of the free world" against authoritarian populists on the march in Europe and the United States, but Angela Merkel is wrapping up a historic 16 years in power with a mixed legacy at home and abroad.
In office so long she was dubbed Germany's "eternal chancellor", Merkel, 67, leaves with her popularity so resilient she would likely have won a record fifth term had she sought it.
Her supporters say she provided steady leadership through countless global crises as a moderate and unifying figure.
What is certain is that she leaves behind a fractured political landscape, with her own CDU party divided as it struggles to emerge from her long shadow.
Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, who served as her vice chancellor and finance minister, successfully sold himself as the Merkel continuity candidate in the run-up to September's general election and will now succeed her.
A trained quantum chemist raised behind the Iron Curtain, Merkel was long in sync with her change-averse electorate as a guarantor of stability.
Her major policy shifts reflected the wishes of large German majorities -- among them phasing out nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima disaster -- and attracted a broad new coalition of women and urban voters to the once arch-conservative CDU.
However, the last days of her tenure have been marred by a vicious fourth wave of coronavirus, the worst since the start of the pandemic.
But while many Germans rallied to Merkel's "We can do it" cry, the move also emboldened an anti-migrant party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), ushering a far-right bloc into parliament for the first time since World War II.
The woman once known as the "climate chancellor" for pushing renewables also faces a mass movement of young activists arguing she has failed to deal with the climate emergency, with Germany not meeting its own emission-reduction commitments.
- Kohl's 'girl' to 'Mummy' - Merkel, the EU and the G7's most senior leader, started as a contemporary of George W. Bush, Tony Blair and Jacques Chirac when she became Germany's youngest and first female chancellor in 2005.
Her father moved the family to a small-town parish in the communist east at a time when tens of thousands were heading the other way.
She excelled in mathematics and Russian, which has helped her maintain dialogue with the other veteran on the world stage, Russia's Putin, who was a KGB officer in Dresden when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.
Merkel kept the name of her first husband, whom she married in 1977 and divorced five years later.
As she rose to power, party rivals sneeringly called her "Mutti" (Mummy) behind her back but she deftly -- some said ruthlessly -- eliminated potential challengers.
Her four terms in office were "eventful and often very challenging years", she said at a military ceremonial farewell. "They have challenged me politically and humanly and at the same time, they were also fulfilling."Asked on her final trip to Washington in June what she looked forward to most, she replied: "not having to constantly make decisions".