Orban was elected democratically as well,
And since then he has been rigging the rules in order to stay in power. Redrawing voting restricts, banning media that portrays him unfavourably and outspending the opposition 10:1 during election campaigns. Merkel has done nothing of the sort.
crippling the entire political system along the way
Nonsense. There was a very smooth transfer of power after her departure. Smoother than Ibmight add in e.g. the USA.
no head of state is really effective at serving
Her exceptional handling of the Covid crisis begs to differ. We got really lucky that we had her, instead of someone like Johnson who has now blood on his hands.
horrifically misguided policy
That "horrifically misguided policy" helped keeping the peace in Europe for 50 years. In hindsight it was wrong to continue it past 2015, but there was little to no support for a drastic change in Germany back then. Other countries felt the same, even countries like Poland that had been sceptical of Moscow still bought gas from Russia.
That failing of her is more than balanced by her defence of the EU. If not for Merkel, Ukraine would not today be in position in which it can aspire to join the EU, and Europe would be even more fragmented and vulnerable to Russian aggression.