Impeccable Merkel led by example as German chancellor

Centrist Armin Laschet, arch-conservative Friedrich Merz and foreign policy expert Norbert Roettgen are vying for the CDU leadership.
Centrist Armin Laschet, arch-conservative Friedrich Merz and foreign policy expert Norbert Roettgen are vying for the CDU leadership.
Image: Markus Schreiber/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Angela Merkel, the first woman to be elected as the chancellor in a united Germany, intends to bow out of politics on a high note after steering Germany to becoming a guiding light of world order.

With her at the helm, Germany declared and entered no wars. She concentrated in keeping her country’s economy great and a democracy functioning well for all, as well as ensuring political stability.

She is an excellent symbol of quality leadership.

Merkel came to power in 2005 and led Germany as its chancellor for 15 years. At the end of this year she will be stepping down as chancellor and leader of her party.

She leaves an impeccable political legacy and an indelible impression, to both critics and admirers.

During that period, at the pinnacle of German, European and global politics, she and her family have never been embroiled in any acts of corruption, incorrect political gaffes or money embezzlement scandals.

Her simplistic character and people-rooted leadership style are positive traits to be emulated by all leaders.

For example, you may find her shopping in the supermarkets, she and her family have stayed in the same house all their years and she dresses comfortably, not expensively.

Merkel holds a doctoral degree in quantum chemistry from the Karl Marx University in Liepzig in the then communist state of the German Democratic Republic (GDR).

She entered formal politics in a party that polled a paltry 0.9 percent in the first elections in the post-socialist state in 1990. From there onwards, she was to become a towering and dominant political figure on the world stage.

Merkel became a permanent feature in all multilateral global gatherings, be it at the United Nations, Davos, climate change conferences and in attempts to stabilise the world monetary system.

She single-handedly held the European Union together at the time Britain wanted to demolish that free trade zone.

The chancellor demonstrated her presence, resilience and energy aptly during the Eurozone debt crisis that engulfed southern European nations.

Her role in the migration crisis and Covid-19 epidemic was admired by all, friends and foes, at home and abroad.

It was she, and only she, who worked hard to find pragmatic solutions to the problems created by the ultra-leftists of those countries.

Merkel’s political background is a fascinating read. She was born in West Germany, but grew up in East Germany in a conservative and religious family home.

After completing her education in the now defunct socialist state of East Germany, she ventured into hard-core politics.

During the cold war era, she worked as an academic in East Berlin at the height of the Western- Eastern bloc tussle for the domination of the world political sphere. At the time she was equipping herself to play a role in human life.

This German leader has always been steadfast and not easily swayed, even as a young person.

As was compulsory in socialist countries, she was among the young people who had to join the Young Pioneers and be a member of state-aligned youth formations, moulding them for future leadership roles.

It was in these youth formations where ideology, principles and cultural values were inculcated in the minds of the nation.

Merkel was not swayed by the efficacy of the ideology into which they were indoctrinated. She never sought to be a member of the Socialist party and rejected recruiting attempts by the secret intelligence services, better known as Stasi.

Her political path started to take shape during the hard times of the late 1980s when she became the spokesperson of the Democratic Awakening movement that participated in the uprisings that brought down socialist rule in 1989 and led to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Merkel was always measured in her political outlook. Her party merged with other conservative groups.

During unification, they merged with Helmut Kohl’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and she  was catapulted onto the German and world political stage.

Nonetheless, when her mentor was embroiled in a financial scandal, Merkel led the charge against Kohl, which attracted fury and praise. She demonstrated what principled leadership meant.

Some of the other policies she brought in were to abolish compulsory conscription in 2011, the shutting down of eight of Germany’s 17 nuclear reactors, to prop up the Euro currency, the introduction of a parent benefit in 2007, and a minimum wage. 

Her calm manner and a “talk less and do more” mantra are traits to be learnt by many politicians, who lead by reading statistics that do not correspond with the reality of ordinary peoples’ lives.

Merkel will depart the political stage with the highest approval ratings by any leader of the top economies.

She leaves behind an indelible impression as a hard worker for humanity.

Let us convince our girls and boys that you can rise to the highest point in life without sacrificing your principles and with your integrity intact by merely being patient and honest in pursuit of your dreams.

Angela Merkel is a person to look up to.

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