Germany's Angela Merkel seeks 4th term on top

  • 21/11/2016
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Reuters)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Reuters)

Angela Merkel has confirmed she wants to run for a fourth term as German chancellor in next year's election, a sign of stability after Britain's vote to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as the next US president.

Despite a voter backlash over her open-door migrant policy, the 62-year old conservative said on Sunday (local time) she would stand again in the September election, ending months of speculation over her decision.

"I thought about this for an endlessly long time. The decision [to run] for a fourth term is - after 11 years in office - anything but trivial," Merkel told a news conference after a meeting of senior members of her conservative Christian Democrat (CDU) party convened to prepare for the election.

Some 55 percent of Germans want Merkel, Germany's eighth chancellor since World War II, to serve a fourth term, with 39 percent against, an Emnid poll showed on Sunday, highlighting that despite setbacks, she is still an electoral asset.

Merkel has steered Europe's biggest economy through the financial crisis and euro zone debt crisis and has won respect internationally, for example with her efforts to help solve the conflict in Ukraine. US President Barack Obama last week described her as an "outstanding" ally.

If re-elected, her responsibilities will range from helping lead talks with Britain on its withdrawal from the EU, soothing tense relations with Turkey, a crucial partner in the migrant crisis, and developing a relationship with Trump.

Merkel, who grew up in Communist East Germany, is a physicist who only became involved in politics after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

A Protestant woman in a mainly Catholic and male-dominated party, at least when she became its leader in 2000, Merkel never built up a regional power base but over the years she has sidelined her main male rivals and has no obvious successor.