- Title: Merkel expected to say she will seek fourth term as German chancellor
- Date: 20th November 2016
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (NOVEMBER 18, 2016) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT AND AUTHOR OF THE 'ANGELA MERKEL LEXICON', ANDREAS RINKE, SAYING (WHEN ASKED HOW TOUGH MERKEL IS): "She is in office for 11 years, she won three elections - that's a lot, even if you see that for a German politician who are normally in office much longer than their counterparts abroad. So everybody thinks that she has at least an ability to stay in power. She knows the rules, she has a lot of experience, and apart from (Russia's Vladimir) Putin she is actually the world leader who is the longest in power, so I think these connections and this experience might help her."
- Embargoed: 5th December 2016 09:48
- Keywords: Angela Merkel background fourth term Germany chancellor popularity election
- Location: BERLIN / BONN, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN / BONN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA006598ZY9Z
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
Chancellor Angela Merkel has called a news conference for 1800 GMT on Sunday (November 20), a sign interpreted by politicians and the media that she has made up her mind to seek a fourth term as the conservative candidate in the 2017 federal election.
Merkel, in power since 2005, has said she would announce her decision at the appropriate moment.
The pragmatist, 62-year-old Merkel has steered Europe through the euro zone crisis and the biggest influx of migrants to the continent since World War Two.
Even though her popularity has dipped following the influx of some 900,000 migrants last year, a poll earlier this month showed more than half of Germans want her to run for a fourth term.
"Her ratings have dropped during the refugee crisis, that's true, but they are astonishingly high if you see the 11 years, because normally after four, five or eight years politicians are not liked anymore," said Andreas Rinke, Reuters chief political correspondent and author of the "Angela Merkel Lexicon".
He added that Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and Bavarian sister party the CSU still believe Merkel is the best candidate to lead them to victory in the 2017 election.
One of Merkel's biggest challenges, if she wins another term, will be managing relations with the United States under Donald Trump, who has challenged her views on everything from free trade to Russian aggression to immigration.
U.S. President Barack Obama told a joint news conference with Merkel on Thursday (November 17) that Merkel faced "big burdens" if she chose to continue, but called her an "outstanding" and "tough" leader who had mastered previous challenges.
Obama said he valued the chancellor's integrity, honesty and that she might get his support if he were a German citizen.
"I think she's considered by her allies in Germany and abroad to be a very stable factor in the world. It's clear what she stands for," Rinke said.
A pastor's daughter who grew up in communist East Germany, Merkel has proven a survivor in her 11 years in office.
"She knows the rules, she has a lot of experience, and apart from (Russia's Vladimir) Putin she is actually the world leader who is the longest in power, so I think these connections and this experience might help her," Rinke said.
By running again, Merkel gives herself a chance of matching the 16 years in office notched up by her mentor, former Chancellor Helmut Kohl. However, it is unclear whether - if she remains chancellor - she would serve a full fourth term.
Merkel was ruthless towards Kohl, saying in the midst of a party funding scandal in 1999 it was time to move on without him.
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