During the “Großer Zapfenstreich”, or the Big Tattoo ceremony – which has been reduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic – members of the armed forces performed a song from the 1960s that includes the words “I can’t agree. , I can’t live with, I still want to win, ”and the song“ You Forgot The Color Film, ”which was first performed by East German punk artist Nina Hagen, reported Reuters.
Merkel is officially due to step down next week after 16 years in office. She will be replaced by Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, who is expected to be sworn in as chancellor after lawmakers give her the final green light.
In a heartfelt speech at the ceremony in Berlin, Merkel said her time in power has “challenged” her both politically and personally.
“But at the same time, it was a deeply satisfying position,” she said.
Our democracy lives on the ability to critically engage with ideas and correct its path and it lives on the balance between the respect we have for one another and for the interest we have in each other. for others – based on solidarity and trust – and also trusting the facts and believing that wherever scientific understanding is denied and conspiracy theories are pursued and incitement to hatred is continued. “
Merkel also said the pandemic has demonstrated “how important trust in politicians, science, public discourse and society is. But also how fragile these things can be ”.
She concluded her speech by saying that it was now up to the next government to “find answers that challenge us”, and wished her successor the best to lead Germany towards the future.
Merkel, 67, grew up under communism in East Germany and trained in science, earning a doctorate in quantum chemistry before entering politics after the fall of the Berlin Wall. She won a seat in the Bundestag, the German parliament, in the first elections after reunification.
She has traveled through Germany and Europe through multiple crises during her tenure and has been hailed as a champion of liberal values and a pillar of democratic values by her supporters.
But while Merkel is seen as a daring and accomplished crisis manager, critics say she risked alienating the conservative electoral base of her own party, the CDU, by taking center-left positions on key issues. such as nuclear power, foreign policy and immigration.
CNN’s Fred Pleitgen contributed to this report.