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Merkel wants to run fourth term as German chancellor

  • Published at 04:33 pm November 20th, 2016
Merkel wants to run fourth term as German chancellor
Angela Merkel told top members of her party on Sunday that she wants to run for a fourth term as German chancellor in next year’s election, senior party sources told Reuters, after months of speculation about one of the world’s most powerful women. Despite a voter backlash over her open-door migrant policy, the conservative is seen as a stabilising force in Europe amid uncertainty caused by Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as the next US president. Merkel, 62, has governed Europe’s top economic power, which does not have term limits, since 2005. She is due to hold a news conference at 1800 GMT Sunday. Another full four-year mandate, which pollsters say is likely, would tie the post-war record set by her mentor Helmut Kohl, who presided over the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall. With no clear successor in the CDU, her decision also comes as a relief to her party. Merkel represents “stability and reliability in turbulent times because she holds society together and stands up to over-simplification” by populists, CDU deputy leader Julia Kloeckner told Welt am Sonntag newspaper. “She stands for moderation and centrism instead of cheap headlines.”

‘Predictability and stability’

A pastor’s daughter who grew up in communist East Germany, Merkel is popular among Germans who see her as a straight-shooter and a safe pair of hands in a crisis. But her decision to let in more than one million asylum seekers over the last two years dented her support. It also revived the fortunes of the rightwing populist Alternative for Germany party (AfD), which has harnessed widespread anxiety about migration. Nevertheless, observers said the recent seismic shifts in global politics were likely to drive traditionally risk-averse German voters back into her arms. “Society’s need for predictability and stability could become so overpowering in the 2017 election year that even the creeping erosion of Merkel’s chancellorship won’t compromise her success at the polls in the end,” left-leaning news weekly Die Zeit said. More than half of the electorate – 55% – want Merkel to stay in office, up from 42% in August, a poll for Bild am Sonntag newspaper showed Sunday. As US President Barack Obama exits the stage, many observers say Merkel’s importance as a defender of Western values will only continue to grow, with some calling her the new “leader of the free world”.
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