Merkel to run for fourth term as German Chancellor: Senior CDU member

Berlin, Nov 16 (IANS) German Chancellor Angela Merkel will run for a fourth term in elections next year, a senior politician from her party has said.

“She will run for Chancellor,” CNN quoted Norbert Roettgen of the Christian Democratic Union as saying on Tuesday.

“She is absolutely determined, willing, and ready to contribute to strengthen the international liberal order. But we can’t see the Chancellor or Germany as last man standing.”

Germans have been waiting for months for clarity on whether Merkel will pursue a fourth term in next year’s elections.

Her another stint would be significant as a large part of the German electorate is looking for stability in uncertain times after the Brexit vote, the election of Donald Trump in the US and the rise of populist movements in several European countries.

If she pursues the position, she will be the favourite to win, political experts said.

She is also facing some backlash over Germany’s refugee policies and the acceptance of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Syria, Afghanistan and other nations.

Christian Democratic Union spokesman Jochen Blind said Merkel “will announce her decision in due time”.

Speaking after Trump’s victory last week, Merkel laid out some ground rules, of sorts, for the incoming American leader.

“Germany and the US are joined by common values — democracy, freedom, respect for the law and human dignity, regardless of skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political beliefs,” she said.

“Based on these values, I offer close cooperation to the future President of the US Donald Trump.”

Merkel’s party was knocked out of a ruling coalition two months ago with the centre-left Social Democrats after winning just 17.6 per cent of the vote.

Anti-immigrant party Alternative for Germany entered Berlin’s state parliament for the first time after winning 14.2 per cent votes.

The Berlin result marked the second recent defeat for Merkel since Germany adopted its open-door refugee policy.

But nationally she is seen as a bulwark against populism and stands for an analytical, unemotional and stable style of politics.

Merkel has acknowledged that she has made mistakes with the controversial refugee policy.

“If I could, I would play back time so I and the German federal government and leaders could have been better prepared,” she said.

Merkel, 62, is the daughter of a Protestant minister and was brought up in communist East Germany.

She entered Germany’s parliament in the first post-unification election, serving in ministerial posts and as the leader of the opposition before she was finally elected Chancellor in 2005. She became the country’s first female leader.