All the World Leaders Angela Merkel Has Survived, Tolerated, and Outlasted

From Barack Obama to David Cameron.

After almost 16 years as Germany’s chancellor, the Angela Merkel era is coming to an end. The German leader, who has led her country for majority of the current century, will be ending her fourth term as chancellor. Merkel revealed in 2018 that she would not be running a fifth time and that she would be standing down as the leader of her party, the Christian Democratic Union, in 2021. Germany’s 2021 federal elections are due to start next month, and the winner will lead Germany into the post-Merkel era.

Merkel became chancellor in 2005 and was, and for now still is, the only female chancellor of Germany. Her 16-year reign as Germany’s leader has made her the most powerful woman in the world, and throughout her years in service, she’s proven herself to be the de facto leader of the European Union, often standing up to the might of non-EU member Russia when need be. Her term in office has been marked by increased international cooperation, effective crisis management (Great Recession of 2008 and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic), clean energy development, welcome response to refugees and immigrants, and more.  

Throughout her 16-year stay in office, she's dealt with everyone from Trump to Sarkozy. According to Statista, here are all the heads of government and state from select countries that she’s dealt with in her soon-to-end era as Germany’s chancellor.

Infographic: End of the Merkel Era | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista


Merkel has always presented herself as a complicated character on the global stage. A physicist before she was a politician, Merkel’s doctorate thesis was on quantum theory. She was the first chancellor after the fall of the Berlin Wall to be raised in the former East Germany. Despite being known for her stoic nature, Germans call her “mutti” (mommy). And as of 2021, she is the longest-serving incumbent head of government of the EU.

Over in the non-EU countries and the former Soviet Union, only the Belarusian president has had a longer term than Merkel (since 1994). Merkel’s longtime political adversary Vladimir Putin has also had a long, if not longer, stay in office, but his current term as president began in 2012. China’s president Xi Jinping has also only been in office since 2012.

From the ever-changing prime ministers of Japan to the controversial leaders of the U.S., Merkel has survived, tolerated, and outstayed them all. 

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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