Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has officially relieved Angela Merkel of her duties as the country’s chancellor, heaping praise on the outgoing leader as she formally left office after over a decade.
Merkel officially resigned her position of almost 16 years. Merkel, who is already the longest-serving Chancellor in German history will continue to be the head of the government until a new one is established. According to several German media outlets, the coalition talks may continue well into December.
During the official ceremony at Bellevue Palace in Berlin, Steinmeier did not stint on praise, describing Merkel’s time in power as “one of the greatest periods in modern German history.”He continued to say that Merkel is the reason Europe didn’t collapse. “break up.”
Merkel’s time in power was “defining for the image of Germany in the world and for a whole generation of young Germans,” Steinmeier continued. He acknowledged, though, that Merkel’s tenure was marked by numerous crises and challenges.
“Without your decisions Europe could have broken up.”German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier lauds Angela Merkel as he hands her cabinet formal release from political office.Merkel remains Chancellor until parliament elects new one. Probability @olafscholzIt is likely to be December. pic.twitter.com/Wb6upDGO9n
— Michaela Kuefner (@MKuefner) October 26, 2021
The country’s outgoing chancellor may not have been able to meet those challenges, but it isn’t everyone who thinks so. Merkel’s decision to let in over a million migrants and refugees in 2015 drew harsh criticism, even from within her own CDU party. The open-door policies saw some disenchanted conservatives join the further-to-the-right Alternative for Germany party (AfD), which enjoyed a steep rise in popularity, while Merkel’s CDU/CSU bloc has been steadily losing ground since.
Tough lockdowns and other pandemic-related policies enacted by Merkel’s administration since April 2020 have not proven very popular with some sections of the public, either.
All that combined saw Merkel’s CDU/CSU take a historic beating in the September 26 general elections. Social-Democrats were the winners and are on track for creating a new coalition.
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Merkel’s choice for her successor was Armin Lasset. He conceded defeat, and accepted the CDU “needed renewal in all areas,”Addition that he was willing to resign as party chairman.
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