By GEIR MOULSON
BERLIN (AP) — Angela Merkel is credited with raising Germany’s profile and influence and working to hold a fractious European Union together. She also been lauded for managing a string of crises and being a role model for women in a near-record tenure that ends with her leaving office amid praise from abroad and enduring popularity at home. The former scientist was raised in communist East Germany. She was already assured of a place in the history books when she became the first female chancellor in 2005. The 67-year-old bowed out of office 16 years later, around a week short of the record for longevity held by one-time mentor Helmut Kohl. He reunited Germany during his 1982-1998 tenure. Olaf Scholz replaced Merkel and took office Wednesday.