German Chancellor Angela Merkel has assured her conservative party leaders that she will seek another term in office despite her falling approval rates and increasing public criticism of her liberal policies toward refugees. Sources in the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) said Sunday that Merkel had announced her readiness to head the party into the 2017 elections, ending months of feverish speculation about her future role in the German power system.
The sources said the announcement came during a congress of CDU leaders and Merkel was planned to brief journalists on the case later in the day. Merkel has been in office since 2005. The 62-year-old’s term has been defined as one of the most successful in German history although an open-door policy toward the refugees which allowed around 900,000 people to arrive in Germany last year seems to have taken its toll on Merkel’s popularity.
Some radical and nationalist parties have outdone Merkel and CDU in local elections in recent months, prompting speculations that she would leave office to save the party within a coalition with Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). The victory of Donald Trump in the recent US presidential elections and results of a June referendum in Britain which would lead to the country’s exit from the EU have also boosted hopes for the rise of lesser-known parties in Germany and other European countries.
CDU officials hailed Merkel’s decision to seek re-election, saying she can protect Germany’s “stability and reliability in turbulent times.” “She stands for moderation and centrism instead of cheap headlines,” CDU’s deputy leader, Julia Kloeckner, said Sunday, adding that Merkel “holds society together and stands up to over-simplification.” If Mekel could win another full four-year term, she would tie the post-war record set by her predecessor and mentor Helmut Kohl, who ruled the united Germany since 1989.