BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced she will run for a fourth term in office, despite expecting it to be an uphill battle.
An election is due to be held next year after four years of coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD).
Merkel’s poll ratings have slipped since the height of her popularity but she retains wide support. The chancellor, who has been in office since 2005, is also being challenged by the populist right-wing AfD party.
She announced she would stand again after meeting party leaders at CDU headquarters on Sunday, the BBC reported. She told reporters that the decision to run for a fourth term had been “anything but trivial after 11 years in office”.
Merkel’s approval ratings have taken several hits in the last few years, most notably because of unrest and concern in Germany about hundreds of thousands of immigrants that have flowed through the country from the Middle East.
Germany expected up to 300,000 migrants to arrive in the country this year, the head of the country’s federal office for migration and refugees said earlier this year. In 2015, Germany received more than a million applications for asylum.
After last month’s local elections, in which Merkel’s own party took a beating, and for which she took the blame, the chancellor said while it seems ridiculous to her, she understands the need for stability and the world – let alone her own nation – looking to her for it.
“I’m honored in a way, but also I think it’s grotesque and absurd,” Merkel said. “No human being on his own, even if there’s a lot of experience, can manage to give the world a positive direction for everything, not even a German Chancellor.”
In the past few years the job of German chancellor has become one of the most powerful political positions in the world. The next incumbent must not only lead the country but deal with a fragmenting EU, in a world which may be much changed by the new US administration led by Donald Trump.
A pastor’s daughter who grew up in communist East Germany, Angela Merkel has run the united country since 2005.
If she wins next year’s general election, due to take place between August and October, she will equal the post-war record set by Helmut Kohl, who was chancellor from 1982 to 1998.
Germany – Europe’s economic powerhouse – does not have term limits on the country’s top job.