Bolt, Obama and Gangnam Style: What (and whom) has Merkel outlasted?
Merkel, who grew up in East Germany, entered parliament in 1990 as the Soviet Empire crumbled, rising quickly through the ranks in the newly unified German government led by the late Helmut Kohl.
But Kohl’s “Mädchen” (or “girl”) would ultimately seal his political fate, writing a newspaper column in 1999 in which she criticized his leadership and urged the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) to move ahead without him.
She became leader of the party the following year — and Chancellor five years later. Twelve years on — and despite a poor election result in September that left Merkel scrambling to form a government — she is still standing, unlike many of the leaders who stepped into the spotlight beside her.
Take a look at who — and what — Merkel has outlasted since she first came to power.
Twenty-nine leaders of G20 countries have come and gone since Merkel took office, including six Japanese and five Italian prime ministers.
The list also includes US President Barack Obama, French Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande, and British Prime Ministers Gordon Brown and David Cameron.
Three years into her first term, Merkel faced the world’s worst financial crisis since the Great Depression — and helped steer Germany to economic recovery.
Fast forward a few years and Europe was embroiled in its own debt crisis that almost saw Greece leave the Eurozone and caused unemployment to skyrocket in Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Greece too.
And since 2005, several deadly epidemics have swept the globe, from the H1N1 influenza virus
(or “swine flu”) in 2009 to outbreaks of Ebola
When Merkel first went into politics, the iPhone was a thing of the future.
Twelve models of the ubiquitous smartphone have since passed by — along with eight different (mostly feline-related) Mac operating systems, including Leopard, Mountain Lion and Yosemite.
We’ve also seen the rise — and fall — of countless gadgets, including Google Glass
, Google’s ill-conceived instant messaging system (“Google Wave
“), and the Twitter Peek,
a not-so-popular handheld tweeting device.
“Usain who?” Few people had heard of the Jamaican sprinter in 2005. Bolt has since become an athletics legend — and headed gracefully into retirement
— all within the span of Merkel’s years at the top.
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