Germany’s Angela Merkel has announced that she will step down as head of her conservative party in December after 18 years and won’t seek a fifth term as chancellor in 2021, launching a leadership transition in Europe’s biggest economy.
Merkel has led her conservative Christian Democratic Union since 2000 and Germany since 2005. She put Germany – and Europe – on track toward a new political era after voters punished Germany’s governing parties in a state election Sunday, the latest in a string of woes to hit her fourth-term federal administration.
Merkel has been the stability in Europe for so long. In total she will do 21 years as party leader and 16 years as Chancellor.
Her biggest mistake was the opening of the borders to allow unrestricted refugee flows. It was a humanitarian gesture but has generated a huge backlash.
The longest serving German Chancellors have been:
- Prince Otto von Bismarck (19 years)
- Helmut Kohl (16 years)
- Konrad Adenauer (14 years)
- Adolf Hitler (12 years)
So Merkel will end up between Kohl and Adenauer for longevity.