Time magazine has named German Chancellor Angela Merkel its “Person of the Year” for 2015.
Merkel recently observed the 10th anniversary of being leader of Europe’s largest economy. She has been called the most powerful woman in the world. And she is the first woman to lead Germany.
Time magazine praised “her resilience and leadership when faced with the Syrian refugee crisis and turmoil in the European Union over its currency this year.”
Time’s Nancy Gibbs said the 61-year-old leader has emerged as an “indispensable player” in Europe.
Gibbs also said she was named, "For asking more of her country than most politicians would dare, for standing firm against tyranny.”
Merkel was elected to her position in November 2005 as head of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
The future leader was the daughter of a religious worker in East Germany. She received a doctorate in chemistry, not politics. She became involved in politics after the fall of the Berlin Wall and reunification of Germany in 1989.
She became head of the Christian Democratic Union in 2000.
In her early years as chancellor, Merkel was often criticized for “leading from behind” and avoiding conflict.
In recent years, crises have tested German politics and the country’s people. The Greek financial crisis threatened not only the southern European nation’s creditors, but the euro itself. The euro is the common currency used by 19 European Union nations.
Germany demanded tough spending cuts of Eurozone countries, like Greece, seeking financial rescues. Greece has received three bailouts, each after difficult negotiations.
In its explanation of choosing Merkel as its “person of the year,” Time noted other European crises such as Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Time said Merkel provided leadership in the West’s response to, what it called, Vladimir Putin’s “creeping theft of Ukraine.”
She has enjoyed wide popularity in Germany where some call her “mutti,” or mommy. She has been able to use that popularity to support the acceptance of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants from the Middle East. While many countries built barriers to refugees, she continued to offer to take them in. Time said she avoided "the reflex to slam doors, build walls and trust no one."
Merkel was chosen from a list that included Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
I’m Mario Ritter.
Mario Ritter wrote this story using materials from AP and VOA news. Kathleen Struck was the editor.
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Words in This Story
resilience –n. the ability to become healthy and strong after something bad happens
turmoil –n. a state of confusion or disorder
annexation –n. to take control of a territory
indispensable –adj. extremely important or necessary
reflex –n. something done without thinking in reaction to some event or action