German Chancellor Angela Merkel closes her social media account as she steps away from politics
German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Friday she would close her Facebook account, taking another step in a long farewell from politics in her final term in office.
In a short video, Merkel thanked her more than 2.5 million followers on the social media site and asked them to keep watching her work on her official government site and on Instagram.
Having run the biggest E.U. economy since 2005, Merkel last year stood down as party leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), a post now held by her preferred successor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.
“Today is the day I would like to thank you for supporting my Facebook page in great numbers,” Merkel said. “You know I am no longer CDU leader, so I will now close my Facebook page.”
Although some observers have speculated Merkel may in future seek a senior U.N. or E.U. post, the 64-year-old has signaled she will not go for a new political job after her term ends in 2021.
Merkel has served a marathon stretch as chancellor but faced major domestic headwinds after her 2015 decision to keep open German borders to a mass influx of mostly Muslim refugees, many from war-torn Syria. While many wished her well in the Facebook comments section on Friday, others vented their anger by demanding she quickly bow out of the chancellery as well.
Merkel, who is not on Twitter, had only occasionally used the Facebook page.
In its “about” section, the site said Merkel enjoys the writings of Fyodor Dostoevsky, the music of Richard Wagner and the Beatles, the German crime TV show Tatort and the movie Out Of Africa.
While her listed hobbies are gardening, hiking and cooking, her personal “dream” may offer a clue to her retirement plans: “a trip with the Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to Vladivostok.” As her favorite quotation, Facebook lists a sentence from post-war CDU chancellor Konrad Adenauer: “Politics is not about just being right, but about being proven right in the end.”