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Merkel's Next Steps

What the Chancellor Must Do to Safeguard Her Legacy

German Chancellor Angela Merkel votes in the general election in Berlin, Germany, September 24, 2017. Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel never aimed to stay in power as long as her mentor, Helmut Kohl. But after her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) came in first place in Sunday’s election, Merkel is set to be chancellor for a fourth time—placing her squarely in the same league as her conservative predecessor. Merkel will undoubtedly go down in the history books for being the first female chancellor, as well as the first from East Germany. But if this is presumably her last term in office, as there would likely be a sense of fatigue among her voters if she sought a fifth, she needs to think all the more carefully about her legacy, regardless of what kind of coalition government emerges in Berlin. 

Abroad, Merkel is known for her trademark calm and competence. At home, however, while she receives broad support and admiration for her global image

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