The political veteran came to power in November 2005 and was for several years an extremely popular chancellor, her approval rating among the German people steadily exceeding 80 percent. During this time she oversaw and successfully sailed Germany through some of the most trying times she and the European Union have ever seen. Angela Merkel has battled a range of potential disasters including the 2007 global financial crisis and the Greek financial crisis that followed, the migrant crisis over the past decade, the Covid pandemic and has been an influential voice in EU talks with UK on Brexit.
In 2018, the EU’s leading figure said she would not run for a fifth term as Chancellor and her longevity is notable – among Germany’s Democratic leaders after WWII, she is second behind Helmut Kohl, who ruled Germany from 1982 to 1998.
Following Sunday’s German election, her 16-year reign will end and despite her apparent popularity, most Germans have revealed in a poll that they will not face the 67-year-old.
A representative survey carried out by the opinion poll institute Civey on behalf of the German regional newspaper Augsburger Allgemeine among 5,007 people from September 22 to 24 revealed a shocking result.
He showed that more than half (52%) will not miss Merkel as the country’s chancellor. More than two-thirds (38 percent disagreed), while the remaining 10 percent were undecided.
The survey shows that Merkel still polarizes opinion – despite her 16 years in power.
Almost four in 10 respondents (40%) said they would âdefinitely notâ regret it, with around a quarter saying they would âdefinitelyâ miss it.
Unsurprisingly, most of those who have said they will miss Merkel when she finally steps down as chancellor come from supporters of her own political party.
The survey showed that nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents from the CDU / CSU camp will miss the chancellor, but three in ten (30 percent) disagreed.
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On the other hand, supporters of rival AfD have a completely different opinion, with just 2% of those polled saying they will miss Merkel when she leaves and a whopping 96% saying she won’t miss it at all. .
Earlier this week, former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker praised the legacy Merkel will leave behind, as well as the personal qualities she possesses and what she performed as Chancellor.
When asked what her most underrated quality was, Mr Juncker, who led the EU from 2015 to 2019, told Politico’s Playbook: ‘She listened to everyone – small, medium, large countries, it has never made a distinction.
“It also explains its influence in the EU.”
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The former president of the European Commission added that Merkel “has always followed the domestic political debate in other countries more closely” than other leaders.
He said: “It was her European political charm, that everyone felt like you could say things to her like at home, and she integrated that into the global network of European solutions to which she contributed. “
FranÃ§ois Hollande, who was French president between 2012 and 2017, recently said in a documentary by German channel Deutsche Welle titled “Angela Merkel – Navigating a World in Crisis”: “Angela Merkel will be remembered as a great woman of European state.
“She has kept the European Union united – despite the many crises we have experienced.”
Tony Blair, who was British Prime Minister for a decade from 1997 to 2007, also said of Merkel: âIt is always a remarkable achievement to keep Europe united in this series of the most difficult years that Europe has crossed.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.