Germany’s centre-right Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that she will run for a fourth term in office.
She told her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party in Berlin she expected her toughest campaign yet and would “fight for our values and our way of life”.
An election is due to be held next year after four years of coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD).
Mrs Merkel’s poll ratings have slipped since the height of her popularity but she retains wide support.
The chancellor, who has been in office since 2005, is also being challenged by the populist right-wing AfD party.
She announced she would stand again after meeting party leaders at CDU headquarters.
She told reporters that the decision to run for a fourth term had been “anything but trivial after 11 years in office”.
She added that she expected challenges from both the right and the left of the political spectrum.
A pastor’s daughter who grew up in communist East Germany, Mrs Merkel has run the united country since 2005.
If she wins next year’s elections, due to take place between August and October, she would equal the post-war record set by Helmut Kohl, who was chancellor from 1982 to 1998.
Germany – Europe’s economic powerhouse – does not have term limits on the country’s top job.
Angela Merkel – key dates
- 1954: Born in Hamburg
- 1973-78: Studies physics at University of Leipzig
- 1990: Joins CDU
- 1994: Becomes minister for environment
- 2000: Becomes CDU leader
- 2005: Becomes chancellor
- 2013: Wins third term