German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced her bid for re-election Sunday after months of speculation.
Merkel has suffered declining popularity because of her open-door refugee policy. Her decision to seek another term was based on serving Germany during a time of polarization in the country.
“I told the CDU that I was ready to stand again,” Merkel said at press conference Sunday. “This election will be even more difficult than those we have had before as we are facing a strong polarization.”
Merkel has been named as the new liberal world leader after the election of Donald Trump as the next U.S. president.
“Angela Merkel is the answer to the populism of this time. She is, as it were, the anti-Trump,” said party ally Stanislaw Tillich, premier of the state of Saxony, according to Reuters.
Merkel said she understands why people consider her a source of stability in a changing world.
“I am indeed honored, but I also find it grotesque and even absurd,” Merkel said.
The podium was decorated with the new slogan “Mitte” — German for “center” — which indicated the party will try to place itself in the middle on the political spectrum. The Christian Democratic Union has traditionally been the conservatives among major parties in Germany.
Merkel emphasized her campaign will based on engagement rather than “fighting” and “inciting hatred,” and said her politics will revolve around “democracy, freedom, and respect for human and individual rights.”
President Barack Obama endorsed Merkel to continue as chancellor during his visit to Germany this week. Merkel said she has kept an “open mind” when it comes to working with Trump, as long as cooperation is based on “a common platform of democracy, freedom, advocacy for human rights all over the world and championing the open and liberal world order.” (RELATED: Merkel Will Work With Trump As Long As He Backs ‘Liberal World Order’)
Merkel took office in 2005 and could end up serving 16 years if her coalition wins next year’s election.
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