Angela Merkel will become the first German chancellor to step down entirely by choice.
Instead, Merkel will pass the baton as the first German chancellor to step down entirely by choice, with a whole generation of voters never knowing another person at the top.
Her supporters say she provided steady, pragmatic leadership through countless global crises as a moderate and unifying figure.
Many hail Merkel as a welcome counter-balance to the big, brash men of global politics Dominique JACOVIDES POOL/AFP.
Six years on, she lamented this month, the European Union appears no closer to a unified policy on migration.
Merkel kept the name of her first husband, whom she married in 1977 and divorced five years later.
Although her name has come up on wish lists for key EU or United Nations posts, Merkel has said she will leave politics altogether. »