Is Angela Merkel Angling for the Top Spot at the United Nations?

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According to a report, Angela Merkel may be considering stepping down from the German chancellorship to pursue the European Council presidency or to helm the United Nations. Both positions will be open in 2017 and Merkel has reportedly signaled that she doesn't wish to serve out her entire term, which ends in 2017.

From Der Spiegel:

The position as head of the UN in New York will also be open as of January 2017, with Ban Ki-moon's successor being determined in mid-2016. Just recently, the Luxemburger Wort, Luxembourg's leading daily paper, wrote extensively about the possibility that Merkel might aspire to the position, though it was quickly denied by the chancellor's spokesman. The speculation, however, has continued. "It is a European's turn," said one senior CDU member at a recent evening event.

Merkel has enjoyed immense popularity through her terms as chancellor and is credited with helping to keep European afloat economically and somewhat credible vis-a-vis foreign policy throughout her nearly nine years in office.

She's not been afraid to mix it up with United States over spying or to push forcefully back against Russia's actions in Crimea. With the United Nations suffering from a major relevance problem, Merkel could use her clout to restore the world body's effectiveness.

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"Angela Merkel is a wise and prudent leader — and, sadly, that is exactly why it’s never going to happen," Hillel C. Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, told The Wire. "The P5 are zealous to protect their powers, and to choose a [Secretary General] who can be trusted never to take them on in any meaningful way, nor to embark on strong initiatives of any kind." The head of the UN monitoring group also pointed out that the next candidate is expected to come from eastern Europe, as the position is filled on a cyclical geographical basis. 

The Telegraph added this to the mix about Merkel's potential candidacy for the European Council presidency:

The appointment of a political figure of Mrs Merkel's stature could have a profound effect on either office, and lend it considerably more authority on the world stage.

In particular, if Mrs Merkel became President of the European Council, the body of national leaders that oversees the European Union, it could be seen as turning the job into a de facto President of the EU.

She would be the first German premier to leave office of our own accord since 1949. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.