Merkel To Seek Fourth Term As German Chancellor

Despite some rumors and speculation that Merkel may call it a day after being the most important woman in Europe for over a decade, having served as chancellor of Europe's biggest economy for 11 years, on Sunday Merkel told leading members of her conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) that she wants to run for a fourth term as chancellor in next year's election, senior party sources told Reuters and German DPA agency.

The 62-year-old conservative is widely seen as a stabilizing force in Europe "amid uncertainty after Britain's vote to leave the European Union and as a bastion of Western liberal values after the election of Donald Trump as the next U.S. president."

On the other hand, Merkel's CDU has seen a series of stinging political defeats in recent months in various regional German elections, as the local population takes a stance against her highly unpopular immigration policies which have resulted in over 1 million refugees arriving in Germany since 2015.

As Reuters adds, leading members of the CDU are meeting in Berlin on Sunday afternoon to prepare for the party's last annual conference before September's election. Merkel is due to hold a news conference at 7:00pm local time.

Merkel's decision appears to be broadly supported by the German public: according to an Emnid survey, Bild am Sonntag said that support for Merkel's fourth term has risen from 42% in August to 55% currently: 92% of CDU party supporters want her to continue, as do 54% of SPD voters. Like with Hillary, Merkel remains largely more popular with women, 66% of whom support another term for the chancellor.

Finally, the chart below reportedly polls German support for Merkel, which after dipping as low as 63% in recent months appears to have rebounded back over 70%, although after Brexit and the Trump victory, it's probably wise to take any such "representations of public opinion" with a grain of salt.