15:51 GMT15 January 2021
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    2020 has been tough and while everyone has been affected by the ongoing pressure, world leaders have been seriously under the cosh as they've struggled to balance people's health, livelihoods, and freedoms.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel has revealed that 2020 has been the hardest of her 15 years in office.

    “I think I am not exaggerating when I say: never in the last 15 years have we found the old year so heavy and never have we, despite all the worries and some scepticism, looked forward to the new one with so much hope,” she said.

    The declaration was made during the chancellor's New Year's speech, which is likely to be her last after she said she won't run for a fourth term in 2021. She may, however, stay in power until 2022 if the September election runs beyond December.

    Merkel has been praised for her handling of the pandemic – Germany was one of the first European countries to initiate a second nationwide lockdown this autumn as the number of coronavirus cases soared. The measures include the closure of schools and non-essential shops, while no more than five people can meet indoors.  

    Tags:
    pandemic, reelection, coronavirus, Angela Merkel, Germany
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