Angela Merkel retained the Chancellorship of Germany like an uncontested empress through all the headwinds of opposition, criticism and challenges. Merkel, for 15 years, dominated German and European politics with a prudent and methodical balance of austerity and compassion, whenever required. As Germany’s ‘iron lady’ steps down this September, a lot is going to change in the country and in the European Union. After 16 years in power, finding the right successor of Angela Merkel’s legacy has begun and the job can rightly be termed as one of Germany’s biggest decisions to make in the modern world.
Having worked with 7 Italian prime ministers, 5 British Prime Ministers, 4 French presidents, and 4 American presidents, Angela Merkel is leaving behind larger than life shoes for her successor to fill in.
A new challenge awaits
Although many bureaucrats might suggest that the field of contenders for the post is somewhat narrow. As the whole of Europe watches keenly, Merkel’s exit in September will be a turning point in German politics ending her 15-year reign. Undoubtedly, the expectations of her successor will be high as Merkel has been instrumental in establishing Germany’s foothold in world politics gaining unrivaled support and economic stability over the past decade and a half.
All the remarkable achievements, however, aren’t to be credited to her solely, but as the leader of the EU’s leading nation, her judgment and experience have proven to be indispensable. This new German regime will have to come on the back of economic recovery from the past year.
Impact on global politics as Angela Merkel steps down
The new leader of the state will have to work in harmony with influential leaders of the world and reinforce newfound connections with them in order to boost the economy. There is a dire need to strengthen transatlantic relations with the newly elected U.S President Joe Biden. A historic investment deal with China looms over the EU Parliament along with the responsibility to fix turbulent relations with Russia and Tukey separately.
As Angela Merkel steps dow, the phenomenon will create a vacuum in the European Union but will also give French President Emmanuel Macron the center stage in Europe. which is already visible. Not to mention that Macron will require a strong and experienced aide by his side once Merkel steps down in September 2021. Although Merkel’s influence will remain for the larger part of the year, Germany’s new leader will have to establish themselves right off the bat.
Who are the potential successors of Angela Merkel as she steps down?
The list of candidates is rather short and well, at first glance appears indistinguishable as the three middle-aged white men with law degrees line up to take charge of the most important position in Europe and Germany. Let us take a closer look at the profile of the potential successors of Angela Merkel.
- Armin Laschet
Laschet is the premier of Germany’s most renowned and populous state, North-Rhine Westphalia. Known for his cheerful nature, Laschet has often been seen taking part in traditional carnival celebrations in the region. He has been touted as Merkel’s successor by many and has stuck by the German Chancellor during tough times including the 2015 refugee crisis. Over the years, Laschet has built his political credibility and is widely known for his liberal ideologies and passion for the EU. He has also managed to maintain a network with immigrant communities in the region.
- Norbert Rottgen
Norbert Rottgen formerly served his nation as the environment minister and is currently engaged as the foreign affairs expert. Often compared to the like of George Clooney by the media, Rottgen has received several remarks for being a ‘photogenic politician.’ Norbert is also a frequent participant in German news and talk programs and advocates a slightly aggressive stance on ties with the Russians and the Chinese. Having been sacked by Merkel herself back in 2012 after he presided over a regional election defeat, Rottgen has some work to establish his presence again.
- Friedrich Merz
Friedrich Merz burst back onto the German political scene in 2018 after a decade of absence. Merz was a very recognized figure in the Christian Democratic Union of Germany until he was pushed aside by Merkel. Being an influential orator, he has been successful in making a name for himself even in industries like business and banking. Although some might think of Merz as the better-suited candidate out of the lot, only a vote out of 1,001 delegates of the CDU will tell who will fill in for Merkel’s spot.