By GEIR MOULSON
BERLIN (AP) — Angela Merkel is credited with raising Germany’s profile and influence, working to hold a fractious European Union together, 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, raised in communist East Germany, was already assured of a place in the history books when she became the first female chancellor in 2005. Sixteen years later, the 67-year-old is bowing out around a week short of the record for longevity held by her one-time mentor, Helmut Kohl, who reunited Germany during his 1982-1998 tenure. Her designated successor, Olaf Scholz, is expected to take office Wednesday.