NEW YORK (TIP): Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, has been named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2015. She is the fourth woman to win the award since its inception in 1927 – until 1999 it was known as the Man of the Year award.
The magazine’s editor, Nancy Gibbs, wrote in an article announcing the decision : “For asking more of her country than most politicians would dare, for standing firm against tyranny as well as expedience and for providing steadfast moral leadership in a world where it is in short supply, Angela Merkel is Time’s Person of the Year”.
From helping avert a ‘Grexit’, to taking a leading diplomatic role mediating the conflict in Ukraine, to spearheading Europe’s response to the refugee crisis, 2015 has been a landmark year for Merkel. This year also marked her tenth year as leader of Germany, during which time she has been credited with overseeing the rebuilding of the nation’s economy and its return to power on the world stage.
In late August, when tens of thousands of migrants fleeing war in the Middle East streamed into Hungary, threatening a humanitarian crisis, Merkel agreed to suspend the European Union’s asylum rules and allow them to continue into Germany. She declared to skeptical countrymen: “Wir schaffen das,” which translates as, “We can do this.”
Her “open-door” stance has led to a fall in support for her conservatives and in her own popularity ratings, which have slid to 54 percent from 75 percent over eight months.
Time also noted her leadership this year in leading the West’s response to Vladimir Putin’s “creeping theft of Ukraine” and welcoming refugees to Germany despite “the reflex to slam doors, build walls and trust no one.”
Merkel topped a short list of finalists that included U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who came in third, and Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was runner-up.
She is the first individual woman to hold the title since Corazon Aquino in 1986, though women have been honored as part of a group. Last year, a group of Ebola doctors and survivors won the title.