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Merkel to step down

Angela Merkel steps down - Yvonne Ridley takes a look at her legacy

Don’t step out of the limelight, the UN needs you says Yvonne Ridley as Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel announces she’s quitting

I’m so sad to hear German Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to quit as the head of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union party following a poor show in the state elections.

She told her party’s executive committee that she would like to stay on as Chancellor until 2021. Personally, I hope she continues to remain in the public eye and think she would make a great UN Secretary General.

Of all the leaders in the world today she was among the few who genuinely went to the aid of the Syrian refugees who poured into Europe, fleeing the brutality of the Assad regime.

Showing real leadership combined with compassion, she reached out to those in need and now it appears to have cost her politically.

On Sunday, her party and its coalition partner saw heavy losses in Hesse, one of the country’s richest states, which comes weeks after similar losses in Bavaria.

Sadly Germany appears to be lurching to the extreme right. Alarmingly, as we’ve seen in America and elsewhere in Europe, this is not an isolated incident. In fact, we’ve just seen an extreme right-wing victory in Brazil too.

The ever-widening gap between rich and poor in the world today is fuelling the populists (some would call them fascists) which is giving them victory at the polling stations. The sort of fear-mongering we are witnessing is extremely dangerous and almost identical to the sort of rhetoric around in 1930s Europe.

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