On November 22, 2005, Angela Merkel was formally elected as the first female Federal Chancellor in German history and the first Federal Chancellor born in the former East German region after the reunification of the two Germanys.
No one thought that she would be in charge of the major European economy for 15 years, and she would be a veritable “super-long standby prime minister” and “German Iron Lady” in political crises.
In September 2021, Germany will usher in the Bundestag election. Not surprisingly, Merkel will tie Helmut Kohl’s 16-year longest ruling record as the postwar leader of Germany, and retires after completing four prime ministerial terms. The 66-year-old has repeatedly emphasized in public that after the end of this term, she will no longer seek any political office and completely withdraw from politics.
Looking back on the past 15 years, Merkel was low-key and cautious in her ruling style in the early days of coming to power. Since then, on the one hand, she has been committed to improving people’s livelihood and ensuring the steady development of the economy. On the other hand, she has established herself in the international community with her increasingly mature political skills and diplomatic skills. He has a calm, pragmatic and reliable image.
In 2008 and 2009, she took part in the Eurozone rescue plan against the crowd, and insisted on adopting harsh aid conditions for the debtor countries in the Eurozone in crisis, helping Germany to get out of trouble and achieve economic growth while contributing to European stability and peace.
Unity injects momentum; in 2011, the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan caused Merkel, who originally supported nuclear power, to launch an unusually decisive timetable for Germany’s abandonment of nuclear power.
Together with a series of bold reform measures including the abolition of the compulsory military service system, She won the hearts and minds of the people; in 2015, Merkel made the still-controversial decision to open the border in the face of the refugee tide, and uttered the slogan “We can do it”.
She was named Person of the Year by Time Magazine and was called “The de facto leader of the European Union”; as of the latest issue of Forbes magazine, Merkel, who has been on the list 14 times, has been ranked first for the 9th consecutive year on the annual list of the most influential women in the world.
Although Merkel’s approval rate has been declining in recent years due to the influence of the refugee policy, she was considered to have handled the crisis properly in the process of leading Germany in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic. People hope that Merkel can continue to serve as prime minister.
According to a recent poll released by the German Public Broadcasting Union, the people’s satisfaction with Merkel in November reached the highest value of the current term, and the support rate for her ruling coalition even hit a record since the survey was conducted in 1997. Record high. The results show that 74% of Germans of voting age are very satisfied or satisfied with Merkel’s work, which is the highest since April 2015; 67% of respondents approve the response of the grand coalition government.
German media generally believe that the economic, political, cultural, and social fields have undergone earth-shaking changes in the past 15 years due to the influence of digital trends and a series of major events including the pandemic crisis. Compared with other western industrial countries, Germany’s performance during this period is remarkable-Merkel can be said to have handed in a “between excellent and good” answer. The report pointed out that Merkel had created her own world in a party that was once dominated by men, but she has always refused to be called a “feminist”.
According to German public opinion, Merkel reshaped her party and made the economic and social policies of the CDU on the left; at the same time, she helped Germany survive the financial crisis, the euro crisis, and The Ukrainian crisis and other difficulties have maintained the stability of the system as much as possible, and promoted its development in a more open and diversified direction.
But it is undeniable that the polarization of German politics is not unrelated to Merkel’s tough stance on some issues. Most public opinion believes that her refugee policy is the main reason for the rapid rise of German far-right parties.
Analysts pointed out that Merkel’s political legacy in the final stage of her term as prime minister will set the tone for the future development of Germany and the European Union. Especially in terms of leading European decision-making, the outside world expects Germany to have a stronger voice and put forward more ambitious initiatives.
European Central Bank President Lagarde congratulated Merkel on the 15th anniversary of her ruling in German and English on social media on the 22nd, calling it “a rock in the waves of anger and a role model for women around the world.” She wrote: “In the current challenging period, Chancellor Merkel has always been committed to making Europe stronger and one of the most respected leaders in the world.”
Former French Foreign Minister Kushner also praised Merkel as “the greatest politician in Europe so far” as “strong but not stubborn.” In the eyes of former French Prime Minister Jean Marc Aireau, Merkel is the best interpreter of “German quality”: “Very rigorous, but it can also be annoying, because sometimes the decision-making is too slow.”