Angela Merkel departs her post after 16 years in German politics
Merkel was Germany's first female chancellor
Germany's first female chancellor, Angela Merkel, officially left office Tuesday, stepping away from her post after her successor Olaf Scholz signed a coalition agreement.
Merkel, who was sworn in in 2005, ran and mostly governed as a center-right Christian Democrat. She was raised a communist in East Germany and became a scientist before entering the political fray.
She retired from her role one week shy of becoming Germany's longest ever leader – a record held by Helmut Kohl. She served through the tenures of four U.S. presidents, five British prime ministers,and four French leaders.
"We have been able to overcome many crises in a spirit of respect, in an effort always to find common solutions," she said on Monday. "But we also have a series of unresolved problems, and there are big unfinished tasks for my successor."
Germany is currently the epicenter of the current European wave of coronavirus cases.