Angela Merkel: Departing German leader looks forward to leisure time without political distractions

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Angela Merkel has said she is looking forward to enjoying some leisure time after 16 years as Germany's chancellor.

Ms Merkel has led Germany through a number of crises, including the global financial collapse, and the coronavirus pandemic.

But she announced in 2018 that she would not run in the elections that took place last month, although she remains in a caretaker role while the Social Democrats, Greens, and Free Democrats work to form a coalition.

The 67-year-old politician told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: "I can say with a good feeling now that it is right for someone else to take over."

While she has found the job fulfilling, she said it had been challenging due to the constant need to pay attention to, prevent, or react to crises.

She said that after she leaves politics, she wants to "perhaps travel a bit or read, or simply enjoy some leisure time knowing that no possible upheaval may happen in the next 20 minutes".

This weekend she has been at the G20 summit in Rome, meeting other world leaders including Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden and France's Emmanuel Macron.

Ms Merkel attended her 107th EU summit earlier in October and leaders gave fond farewells to the woman whose first summit was when Jacques Chirac was French president and Tony Blair was British prime minister.

EU Council president Charles Michel described her as "a monument", adding that meetings without her would be like "Rome without the Vatican or Paris without the Eiffel Tower".

Former US president Barack Obama told her she was "a role model" who he was able to look up to "through challenging times".

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Germany's election was narrowly won by the Social Democrats, the centre-left party of vice chancellor Olaf Scholz, who appears to have the best chance of becoming Ms Merkel's successor.

He could be in place by early December.

Ms Merkel, who invited Mr Scholz to join discussions with other world leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit this weekend, said she was grateful to have been able to serve her country.

She would look back with satisfaction on a "long, and in some cases complicated, period", she said, adding: "A little melancholy will perhaps also come later".

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