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Merkel the survivor: Putting her longevity in perspective

A G8 summit in 2008. Merkel is the only participant still in office. Photo: Koichi Kamoshida / AFP / Getty Images

It took five months and a good deal of hand-wringing, but Angela Merkel has secured a coalition and will form her fourth government — putting her on course to lead Germany until 2021. 

The other side of the coin: Merkel's longevity is an outlier. As news of her coalition agreement broke, Italians were heading to the polls, yet again. In the 12 years Merkel has been chancellor, Italy has had six prime ministers — one of them twice (Berlusconi).