BERLIN—Like all young Germans, Lilli Fischer has lived nearly all of her conscious life during Angela Merkel’s tenure as chancellor of Germany. Now 21 years old, Fischer was just a newborn in 2000, when Merkel took over leadership of Germany’s center-right party, the Christian Democratic Union or CDU; she was just 5 years old when Merkel became the country’s first female chancellor in 2005.
Fast forward to today, and Fisher, too, has entered public life. Frustrated by the education policies of the state government in Thuringia, her home in the country’s east, she first got involved in politics while she was still in high school. Now, she’s the No. 2 politician from Merkel’s CDU in Erfurt, Thuringia’s capital, where she serves as a city councilwoman and works to give young people a louder voice in German politics.
Fisher says her career was partly inspired by the example Merkel has set. “For me, Angela Merkel is as much a part of everyday politics as a coffee in the morning is part of the day,” she told me. “She’s such a steady presence that I can’t imagine things without her.”