It will take loads of political acumen and fortitude to step into Angela Merkel’s shoes. She was a leader par excellence not only for Germans but for the world at large (“A global icon who missed opportunities at home,” Sept. 22, Gulf Today).
While the author of the article focuses on Merkel’s contribution or little contribution to gender equality and upliftment of women, there is no denying that she has broken the glass ceiling of male dominance in politics, especially in Germany.
Her achievements and contributions in her long 16-year term are many. From being named “The World’s Most Powerful Woman” by Forbes magazine for the last 10 years in a row, Merkel has been cast as a powerful defender of liberal values in the West.
She has also proved to be an exceptionally gifted leader by standing her ground at male-dominated summits with leaders such as former US President Donald Trump or Russian President Vladimir Putin. She went a step further as a humane leader by welcoming thousands of Syrian refugees. While it is an act worth commending, it has damaged the status of her party politically. The results of the upcoming elections will give a clearer picture of where Merkel’s party stands.
Armin Laschet, the candidate from her party who is likely to succeed her as chancellor faces a daunting task, if elected. Merkel was a towering figure. Time will tell if anyone came close to governing Germany the way she did.