Angela Merkel named 2015 TIME Person of the Year

This year's title-holder was announced on Wednesday morning in New York

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel has been named the 2015 TIME magazine person of the year.

The prestigious title was announced both on TIME's website and NBC’s Today Show in New York on Wednesday.

The title is awarded to an individual who has influenced the year’s news for either positive or negative reasons and is decided by the editors of the influential magazine. Last year the title went to ebola fighters and the year before that, Pope Francis.

Merkel leads the way, coming before Isis leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in second place and Republican candidate Donald Trump in third.

Nancy Gibbs, the editor of TIME wrote that the Chancellor was awarded the title for "asking more of her country than most politicians would dare, for standing firm against tyranny as well as expedience and for providing steadfast moral leadership in a world where it is in short supply".

She also praised Merkel, the first woman to be named the title for 29 years, for her leadership during the refugee crisis.

 "At a moment when much of the world is once more engaged in a furious debate about the balance between safety and freedom, the Chancellor is asking a great deal of the German people, and by their example, the rest of us as well.

"... By viewing refugees as victims to be rescued rather than invaders to be repelled, the woman raised behind the Iron Curtain gambled on freedom."

Merkel was revealed as one of the eight shortlisted candidates on Monday.

The other finalists shortlisted for the accolade, in order, were Al-Baghdadi (2nd), Mr Trump (3rd), Black Lives Matter activists (4th), Hassan Rouhani (5th), Travis Kalanick (6th) and Caitlyn Jenner (7th).

Democrat presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders was voted the 2015 person of the year in a separate poll voted by readers on Monday.

The first person of the year was Charles Lindbergh, the first person to fly a plane solo across the Atlantic, in 1927.

Other previous winners include Mahatma Ghandi (1930), Queen Elizabeth 11 (1952), Adolf Hitler (1938) and virtually all US presidents since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932.

Putin, nominated this year, was awarded the accolade in 2007.