Angela Merkel who has steered Germany through several global crises as its first woman leader, says she will seek a fourth term as Germany's chancellor in general elections next year.
Speaking after a meeting with high-ranking members of her center-right party, Merkel told reporters Sunday night that "I literally thought about this decision endlessly ... but I am ready to run for office again."
If the 62-year-old Merkel wins next year and serves the entire four-year term, she would match her one-time mentor Helmut Kohl's post-war record of 16 years in office.
A pragmatist, Merkel has steered Europe's biggest economy through the financial crisis and the euro zone debt crisis and has won respect internationally - U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday described her as an "outstanding" ally.
However, her decision last year to open Germany's borders to around 900,000 migrants, mostly from war zones in the Middle East, angered many voters and hit her personal ratings.
Her party has slumped in regional elections in the last year while support for the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) has swelled.
In September, after a heavy defeat for the CDU in a Berlin state election, a humbled Merkel surprised the country by saying she wished she could turn the clock back on the migrant crisis, though she stopped short of saying her policy was a mistake.