When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, Merkel abandoned a career in scientific research to enter politics, winning a seat in Parliament in Germany’s first reunified elections. Before becoming Chancellor, she held several cabinet posts and was leader of her Conservative Party, having ousted her political mentor, Helmut Kohl, in a ruthless show of power by publicly calling for her impeachment. She remained at the head of the Christian Democratic Union until 2018, when she decided to step down, a move that made her a lame duck for the last difficult years of her chancellery.
Today, at 67, the long political life of Merkel seems to be coming to an end (the rest is uncertain). She was always clear that she wanted to step down on her own terms and at her own pace. “At some point I want to find the right time to quit politics,” she told Herlinde Koelbl, a German photographer, in 1998. “I don’t want to be a half-dead wreck. “
She kept that promise to herself. The first Chancellor of modern Germany to step down rather than being rejected by lawmakers or the public, Merkel is leaving the Chancellery as her country’s most popular politician.
His political career, which began in an era of hope after the fall of the Berlin Wall, ended in a period of great uncertainty. It’s a journey from the end of history and back.