Chancellor Merkel visits Pope Francis before leaving office

Chancellor Merkel visits Pope Francis before leaving office - Photo 1.

Pope Francis (left) welcomes German Chancellor Angela Merkel on October 7 – Photo: REUTERS

According to Reuters news agency, Merkel and Pope Francis had a private conversation in the library of the Vatican Palace for about 45 minutes.

The two have met many times before.

In an interview in September, Pope Francis called Merkel, who has led Germany for the past 16 years, “one of the greatest political leaders in the world”.

At the end of the conversation, Pope Francis and Mrs. Merkel exchanged gifts.

The pope presented Merkel with some of his writings and a miniature replica of a gate to St Peter’s Basilica.

In response, Chancellor Merkel gave Pope Francis a set of gospels and a book about the painter Michelangelo.

After her visit to the Vatican, Merkel will meet with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, the former governor of the European Central Bank.

According to Reuters, Mrs. Merkel’s party – the Christian Democratic/Social Union (CDU/CSU) narrowly lost to the German Social Democrats (SPD) by just 1.6 percentage points.

Although behind, Merkel’s CDU/CSU coalition could continue to lead the country if it forms a governing coalition with other parties.

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