German chancellor ends months of speculation with announcement that she intends to seek re-election. Angela Merkel has announced she will run for a fourth term as German chancellor in a crucial national election next September, insisting the decision had not been easy to make because of the complex challenges she will face and “absurd” expectations Germany could take a world leadership role when Barack Obama leaves office.
“I have spent an unending amount of time contemplating this, as to stand as a candidate for a fourth time after 11 years in power is anything other than a trivial decision, neither for the country, for the party, nor for me,” Merkel told a press conference in Berlin on Sunday night in what was a much-anticipated announcement.
She said just as when she first took up the post in 2005, she wanted to serve Germany. “Ever since then I have tried to orientate myself according to this principle.”
The 62-year-old is considered globally as the most experienced and longest-serving leader of the western world. She will be looked to for answers to may current challenges, including how to shape relations with Europe and the United States under Donald Trump, how the European Union will manage a Brexit and dealing with Russian aggression.
The continuing influx of refugees into Europe as well as the ongoing euro crisis are among the major issues that would dominate her next term.
Appearing relaxed but typically self-contained, Merkel said the decision would depend on the state of her health but assured her audience she felt “wide awake and full of ideas”.
But Merkel said it was “grotesque and absurd” that a single person should be expected to carry the burden of leadership alone, in a nod to those who have described Merkel variously, following the election of Trump, as the liberal west’s last defender.
Listing her main challenges, Merkel said: “The European Union is currently under great strain, with the euro crisis, with the refugee question, and following the decision of the United Kingdom to want to leave the EU, and with a situation in the world which, to put it delicately, needs to focus itself anew following the elections in America and also regarding the relationship to Russia.”
Under the circumstances she said she felt ready to run again for the German chancellery, but added: “But I have said very clearly, all that which is connected to the [current situation in the world] especially after the elections in America, that I’m expected to deal with, it’s very grounding, but I feel it very strongly as grotesque and downright absurd.
“No person, no person alone, even with a great deal of experience can face the things in Germany, in Europe, in the world … certainly not a chancellor of Germany.”
She said efforts to solve problems had to be made by countries’ leaders who recognised the common challenges and worked together to tackle them.