The most shocking candidate to me was Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. How could someone who has organized so much terror be named the person of the year...? But I thought about it and did some research. I actually found out that the criterion for this award is "the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year." ISIS has definitely impacted the world for ill. The Islamic State (of Iraq and the Levant) "has risen from an Al-Qaeda franchise to a self-proclaimed state and one of the most potent threats in the Middle East." According to data collected by the New York Times, there have been 51 attacks directly linked to ISIS since September 2014. The data also showed more than 30 arrests before an attack was able to take place. So who knows how many more attacks would have been possible? Assuming the worst, if each of those 30 individuals had planned their own attack, that would be 81 attacks in 15 months. That's around 5.5 attacks each month, or more than 1 attack each week.
I'm not saying Merkel isn't deserving of this honor because she has actually done a lot for the European nations out there, but I have a feeling Time magazine gave her this award as opposed to another candidate to avoid widespread backlash from the rest of the sensitive population.