Written by Staff Writer at CNN
Merkel has officially announced that she will leave office on Sept. 24, after more than 12 years in the role.
Germany will elect its new leader in the weeks after her departure, with Merkel’s ally of over 20 years, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, being touted as a likely candidate to succeed her.
After more than a decade of dominating Europe’s largest economy, Merkel is one of the most influential politicians in the world, as well as the longest-serving leader of any nation in the European Union.
Her opponents often deride her as a “wise chancellor” – a title historically reserved for male European heads of state and European presidents – due to her conservative track record.
Her decision to allow in more than a million refugees fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and beyond in 2015 drew criticism and the formation of a new anti-immigration party, Alternative for Germany (AfD).
ADDRESS TO GERMANY’S AGENCY MEMBERS IN TORUBA, SEGUING AND AMBASSADOR HENRY L. ROEL
Merkel is said to be reconciled to what many regard as a destiny of exile from a stage she helped to forge.
“I do not expect to be … crowned king of the queen of Europe,” she told German lawmakers. “But I can assume that I will have my suit fitting, and my hair cut as well.”