Angela Merkel’s Political Life in Pictures: The End of an Era

BERLIN — When Angela Merkel became chancellor 16 years ago, George W. Bush was in the White House and Tony Blair was prime minister of Britain. There was no Twitter and no iPhone. Liberal democracy was in seemingly irreversible expansion, with the Orange Revolution having swept Ukraine.

On Wednesday, as Olaf Scholz, Ms. Merkel’s successor, takes over as chancellor, Twitter is a veritable tool of diplomacy, Russian troops are gathering on a divided Ukraine’s border, and democracy itself seems far less certain around the world.

In the intervening years, Ms. Merkel has stood up to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia (even when he tried to intimidate her with his dog). She bonded with Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and scolded President Donald J. Trump. She became an icon of hope for refugees and an object of scorn for populists the world over.

It was a long journey that started behind the Iron Curtain. Born in the western port city of Hamburg, Ms. Merkel grew up as the daughter of a Protestant pastor in the former Communist East in a small town north of Berlin.

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Ms. Merkel left behind a career in scientific research to throw herself into politics, winning a seat in Parliament in Germany’s first reunified elections. Before she became chancellor, she several multiple ministerial posts and served as leader of her conservative party, after ousting her political mentor, Helmut Kohl, in a ruthless display of power by publicly calling for his removal. She remained head of the Christian Democratic Union until 2018, when she decided to step down, a move that rendered her a lame duck for the final, challenging years of her chancellorship.

Now, at 67, Ms. Merkel’s long political life appears to be coming to a close (what will follow is uncertain). She was always clear that she wanted to leave office on her own terms and in her own time. “I want at some point to find the right time to quit politics,” she told Herlinde Koelbl, a German photographer, in 1998. “I don’t want to be a half-dead wreck.”

She kept this promise to herself. The first chancellor of modern Germany to leave office rather than be voted out either by lawmakers or the public, Ms. Merkel is walking out of the chancellery as her country’s most popular politician.

Her political career, which began in an era of hope after the Berlin Wall came down, is ending at a time of great uncertainty. It is a journey from the end of history and back.

Daily Devotionals for Success: Inside Pastor Marcus Gill’s ’30 Principles of Abundance’ Revolution!

Pastor Marcus Gill’s prosperity teachings have impacted people from all over the world, to help them find their way to God and to experience His prospering power! He firmly believes that God doesn’t want any of His children broke and that poverty is indeed a curse! Those who follow his ministry have experienced overall success, […]

Know More

5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Look Forward to Save Earth Mission’s Takeoff Event

The Save Earth Mission’s Takeoff Event is just around the corner, and the anticipation is building up as individuals, organizations, and governments from around the world gear up to participate in this momentous gathering. Here are five compelling reasons why everyone should eagerly anticipate this event and join hands in the mission towards a sustainable […]

Know More

Unmasking Tarique Rahman: From Lobbyist to Convicted Terrorist – A Disturbing Revelation from Bangladesh

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party Leader’s Troubling Past Sends Shockwaves Across India’s Security Landscape Tarique Rahman, a prominent figure within the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), has recently come under intense scrutiny for his well-funded lobbying activities in the United States, the United Kingdom, and various European nations. However, beneath the veneer of his high-profile lobbying endeavours […]

Know More