GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel has confirmed she will seek a fourth term in office.
The leader, often named the most powerful woman in the world, told reporters in Berlin on Sunday evening that she would seek re-election in 2017.
She leads the centre-right Christian Democratic Union.
Merkel told reporters she expected this to be the toughest campaign to date.
Her government has received criticism over the past 12 months over its handling of the European refugee crisis and the issue is expected to heavily influence the election.
In state elections held across Germany in September, the CDU lost numerous seats across several states.
At the time, Merkel told media she believed the party's policy on accepting large numbers of refugees influenced the loss.
Merkel has held office since 2005.