Ever since the German election campaign started, polls indicated that Europe’s longest-serving female Chancellor Angela Merkel was likely to emerge triumphant for a fourth term. After 12 years in office, first time voters don’t even know a Germany without her.
The shy Protestant pastor’s daughter from the Communist East known as “Kohl’s girl” has come a long way, from physicist, to politician, to minister to head of Germany’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
Her first outing as Chancellor came 2005 in a “grand coalition” with her SPD rivals. That turned out far more harmonious than many expected. In contrast, the centre-right coalition she formed in 2009 with the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP), her more natural partner, proved troublesome. In 2013 the CDU was back with the SPD.
With more years in power than most of her fellow global leaders and fluent in English and Russian, Merkel is perhaps Germany’s first “global” leader, voted most powerful woman in the world four times in a row by Time magazine.