Angela Merkel
German politician
Angela Merkel
Angela Dorothea Merkel is the Chancellor of Germany and Chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Merkel is the first female Chancellor of Germany. A physical chemist by professional background, Merkel entered politics in the wake of the Revolutions of 1989 and briefly served as the deputy spokesperson for Lothar de Maizière's democratically elected East German government prior to the Reunification of Germany.
Angela Merkel's personal information overview.
Photo Albums
Popular photos of Angela Merkel
August 22, 2016
Press conference onboard the Italian aircraft-carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi following talks off the coast of the island of Ventotene, Italy.
November 16, 2015
Madame Tussauds celebrates the 10th anniversary of Angela Merkel as a chancellor with their three wax figures at Madame Tussauds in Mitte.
October 02, 2015
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been named the 2015 TIME magazine person of the year. The award, given by the U.S. magazine to the person who has done the most to influence the events of the year either positively or negatively, was announced both
September 17, 2015
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been named the 2015 TIME magazine person of the year. The award, given by the U.S. magazine to the person who has done the most to influence the events of the year either positively or negatively, was announced both
August 28, 2015
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister of Denmark Lars Loekke Rasmussen attend a joint press conference at the German Chancellery
August 27, 2015
West balkan conference and honors for Angela Merkel
August 17, 2015
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been named the 2015 TIME magazine person of the year. The award, given by the U.S. magazine to the person who has done the most to influence the events of the year either positively or negatively, was announced both
July 17, 2015
German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a special parliament session at the Bundestag to consult the government on the financial support for Greece.
News abour Angela Merkel from around the web
Freedom of press essential in democracy: Merkel - 5 days
When asked about attacks on the press in the U.S., German Chancellor Angela Merkel says freedom of press is an "essential pillar of democracy." Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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Pence and Merkel embrace NATO but differ on transatlantic partnership - Washington Post
Google News - 5 days
Washington Post Pence and Merkel embrace NATO but differ on transatlantic partnership Washington Post MUNICH — Vice President Mike Pence and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday offered dueling assessments of the troubled transatlantic relationship, as both praised NATO but Pence made no mention of the European Union, the key economic ... Pence: US will hold Russia accountableCNN In Europe, Pence says US will hold Russia accountableFox News US 'unwavering' in support for Nato allies, says PenceBBC News Bloomberg -New York Daily News -ABC News -The Boston Globe all 146 news articles »
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Merkel Stresses Importance of German-U.S. Intelligence Cooperation
Wall Street Journal - 6 days
German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed the importance of close intelligence cooperation between Germany and the U.S. and said she was confident it would continue under President Donald Trump.
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Wall Street Journal article
Democracy Needs You: How To Avoid Fake News
Huffington Post - 8 days
In his farewell speech, President Obama reminded us that "democracy needs you." This is not hyperbole, at its best, democracy is about the people. Democracy's roots are in highly participatory forms of government and the representative systems of today's nation states distance us from our governments, so we depend on the press to keep us informed. Attempts to mislead and deceive us have been around as long as there has been press and restricting free speech in an attempt to fix this just further damages democracy. That said, people who choose to be active and informed citizens face a daunting task navigating today's complex media ecosystem. How can you tell what's real, fake or just sloppy reporting? Those of us who write and do research have to be very careful with our sources or risk our reputations. Not everyone has the time to research every new source, nor is it such a good idea to rely on just a few that we think are trustworthy. If you spend any time at all on Facebook, T ...
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Huffington Post article
Merkel pushes Tunisia PM to speed up migrant returns
Yahoo News - 8 days
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday pushed Tunisia's prime minister to speed up the returns of rejected asylum seekers, as Tunis rebuffed criticism that it was blocking repatriations. The German leader has been battling to get Tunis to take back its citizens, with the issue taking on greater urgency since the deadly assault on a Berlin Christmas market in December. The jihadist attack which claimed 12 lives has been blamed on Anis Amri, a Tunisian whose asylum application had been rejected half a year earlier, but could not be expelled because of Tunisian bureaucratic delays.
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Mixing It Up Royally With The Rest Of The Planet
Huffington Post - 10 days
Cross-posted with Consider it an irony or simply a reality of our moment, but these days Donald ("America First") Trump is looking ever less like an old-fashioned, pre-World War II isolationist. In a mere three-plus weeks in office, he's managed to mix it up royally with much of the rest of the planet. He threatened to send American troops into Mexico (hey, it was a joke, just lighthearted banter!); he insulted the Prime Minister of Australia by shouting at and hanging up on him ("fatigue was setting in" and anyway maybe he thought it was Austria!); he threatened Iran with everything but the kitchen sink (which he evidently couldn't find in the new, under-inhabited White House); he insulted Iraq by banning its citizens from visiting the land that had invaded and occupied them and essentially dynamited their country; he insulted German Prime Minister Angela Merkel for her handling of the refugee crisis and may still be playing with the idea of appointing an ambassador ...
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Angela Merkel, Squeezed by Far Right, Now Faces a Rising Left - New York Times
Google News - 10 days
New York Times Angela Merkel, Squeezed by Far Right, Now Faces a Rising Left New York Times Chancellor Angela Merkel and Horst Seehofer, head of the center-right Christian Social Union party, in Berlin on Sunday. She is seeking a fourth four-year term as chancellor. Credit Filip Singer/European Pressphoto Agency. BERLIN — She is considered ... Frank-Walter Steinmeier elected German PresidentCNN Germany Picks Anti-Trump President as Trans-Atlantic Bonds FrayBloomberg Germany president: Steinmeier chosen by lawmakersBBC News Los Angeles Times -Reuters -Breitbart News -Daily Caller all 136 news articles »
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Hypocritical Europe is Just Trump-Lite on Refugee Policy
Huffington Post - 12 days
Politicians in Europe are howling about President Trump's cruel and inept executive order on refugees, and comparing his scattershot treatment to Europe's which they argue is benign and in line with European values. Don't be fooled. Europe, if it can be said that there is such a cohesive entity, is full of efforts to curtail refugee and migrant flows in ways that (might even) make Trump blush. But for now, it is easier to take a holier-than-Trump stance than do what is necessary, both in Europe and Washington, to deal with the reality of refugee issues in the age of failed states: migrant flows are not going to end soon from all sorts of places and no one knows how to handle them. Europe's response is hardly a source of pride. To wit: • Germany, which opened its borders to almost a million refugees in 2015 and a 280,000 last year, is now deporting the newcomers at breakneck speed, especially from Afghanistan, which Berlin has decreed is a safe place to go back to. Sometimes G ...
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Merkel to testify before German parliament panel probing NSA
Fox News - 13 days
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to testify before a German parliamentary panel investigating U.S. intelligence activities in the country.
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Fox News article
A plain-spoken German populist may have a shot at ousting Angela Merkel
LATimes - 14 days
He is a recovering alcoholic who dropped out of high school and spent most of his political career abroad. So when Martin Schulz returned home to Germany with the goal of unseating Chancellor Angela Merkel, perhaps the world’s most powerful woman, it was understandably viewed as a suicide mission. ...
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LATimes article
Merkel receives warm welcome in once frosty Warsaw
Yahoo News - 15 days
By Andreas Rinke and Lidia Kelly WARSAW (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared on Tuesday to win promises of closer cooperation from Poland's eurosceptic rulers, during a visit to Warsaw to discuss reforms essential for the European Union to tackle mounting divisions over its future. Europe's most powerful leader needs the backing of Poland, wary of any increased powers for Brussels, to agree reforms in March, on the 60th anniversary of the founding Rome Treaty. Governed by the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, Poland is lobbying for an overhaul of the EU's fundamental rulebook, its treaty, to return some power to member states.
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Angela Merkel
  • 2016
    In May 2016, Merkel was named the most powerful woman in the world for a record tenth time by Forbes.
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  • 2015
    In December 2015, Merkel was named as Time magazine's Person of the Year, with the magazine's cover declaring her to be the "Chancellor of the Free World."
    More Details Hide Details On 26 March 2014, Merkel became the longest-serving incumbent head of government in the European Union. Merkel is currently the senior G7 leader.
    In 2015, an open letter the ONE Campaign had collected signatures for was addressed to her and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, urging them to focus on women as they serve as the head of the G7 in Germany and the AU in South Africa respectively, which will start to set the priorities in development funding before a main UN summit in September 2015 that will establish new development goals for the generation.
    More Details Hide Details Merkel features as a main character in two of the three plays that make up the Europeans Trilogy ("Bruges", "Antwerp", "Tervuren") by Paris-based UK playwright Nick Awde: "Bruges" (Edinburgh Festival, 2014) and "Tervuren" (2016). A character named Merkel, accompanied by a sidekick called Schäuble, also appears as the sinister female henchman in Michael Paraskos's novel In Search of Sixpence.
    In October 2015, Horst Seehofer, Bavarian State Premier and leader of CSU, the sister party of Merkel's CDU, criticised Merkel's policy of allowing in hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East: "We're now in a state of mind without rules, without system and without order because of a German decision."
    More Details Hide Details Seehofer attacked Merkel policies in sharp language, threatened to sue the government in the high court, and hinted that the CSU might topple Merkel. Many MPs of Merkel's CDU party also voices dissatisfaction with Merkel. Chancellor Merkel insisted that Germany has the economic strength to cope with the influx of migrants and reiterated that there is no legal maximum limit on the number of migrants Germany can take.
    Merkel's approval rating dropped to 54% in October 2015, due to her open door immigration policy during the European migrant crisis, the lowest since 2011.
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    In 2015, with the absence of Stephen Harper, Merkel became the only leader to have attended every G20 meeting since the very first in 2008, having been present at a record eleven summits as of 2016.
    More Details Hide Details She is expected to host the 2017 G20 Hamburg summit. Following major falls in worldwide stock markets in September 2008, the German government stepped in to assist the mortgage company Hypo Real Estate with a bailout, which was agreed on 6 October, with German banks to contribute €30 billion and the Bundesbank €20 billion to a credit line.
    At the beginning of August 2015, reported that Merkel had "evidently decided to run again in 2017".
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    Her statement "Islam is part of Germany" during a state visit of the Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in January 2015 induced criticism within her party.
    More Details Hide Details The parliamentary group leader Volker Kauder said that Islam is not part of Germany and that Muslims should deliberate on the question why so many violent people refer to the Quran.
  • 2014
    In August 2014, Merkel visited Ukraine to show her support for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
    More Details Hide Details Human Rights Watch said that "Merkel's visit is an opportunity for her to denounce violations of international humanitarian law by the Ukrainian military."
    On 18 July 2014 Merkel said trust between Germany and the United States could only be restored by talks between the two, and she would seek to have talks.
    More Details Hide Details She reiterated the U.S. remained Germany's most important ally.
    In recognition of the importance of China to the German economy, by 2014 Merkel had led seven trade delegations to China since assuming office in 2005.
    More Details Hide Details The same year, in March, China's President Xi visited Germany.
  • 2013
    The third Cabinet of Angela Merkel was sworn in on 17 December 2013.
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    In 2013, Merkel won one of the most decisive victories in German history, achieving the best result for the CDU/CSU since reunification and coming within five seats of the first absolute majority in the Bundestag since 1957.
    More Details Hide Details However, with their preferred coalition partner, the FDP, failing to enter parliament for the first time since 1949, the CDU/CSU turned to the SPD to form the third grand coalition in postwar German history and the second under Merkel's leadership.
    During a visit of U.S. President Barack Obama in Berlin, Merkel said on 19 June 2013 in the context of the 2013 mass surveillance disclosures: "The Internet is uncharted territory for us all". Her sentence led to various internet memes and online mockery of Merkel.
    More Details Hide Details Merkel has compared the NSA to the Stasi when it became known that her mobile phone was tapped by that agency. In response Susan Rice pledged that the USA will desist from spying on her personally, but said there would not be a no-espionage agreement between the two countries.
    In July 2013, Merkel defended the surveillance practices of the NSA, and described the United States as "our truest ally throughout the decades".
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  • 2012
    However, she scored well on her handling of the recent euro crisis (69% rated her performance as good rather than poor), and her approval rating reached an all-time high of 77% in February 2012 and again in July 2014.
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    Merkel has been described as the de facto leader of the European Union. Merkel appeared on the Forbes Magazine's List of The World's Most Powerful People as the world's second most powerful person, selected by Forbes magazine in 2012 and 2015.
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  • 2011
    Midway through her second term, Merkel's approval plummeted in Germany, resulting in heavy losses in state elections for her party. An August 2011 poll found her coalition had only 36% support compared to a rival potential coalition's 51%.
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    The relationship with India on the basis of cooperation and partnership was further strengthened with Merkel's visit to India in 2011.
    More Details Hide Details At the invitation of the Indian government, the two countries held their first intergovernmental consultations in New Delhi. These consultations set a new standard in the implementation of the strategic partnership, as India became only the third non-European country with which Germany has had this nature of comprehensive consultations. India became the first Asian country to hold a joint cabinet meeting with Germany during Merkel's state visit. The Indian government presented the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding for the year 2009 to Merkel. A statement issued by the Government of India stated that the award "recognises her personal devotion and enormous efforts for sustainable and equitable development, for good governance and understanding and for the creation of a world better positioned to handle the emerging challenges of the 21st century."
  • 2009
    Der Spiegel reported that tensions between Chancellor Merkel and President Barack Obama eased during a meeting between the two leaders in June 2009.
    More Details Hide Details Commenting on a White House press conference held after the meeting, Der Spiegel stated, "Of course the rather more reserved chancellor couldn't really keep up with Obama's... charm offensive," but to reciprocate for Obama's "good natured" diplomacy, "she gave it a go... by mentioning the experiences of Obama's sister in Heidelberg, making it clear that she had read his autobiography".
    Her party was re-elected in 2009 with an increased number of seats, and could form a governing coalition with the FDP.
    More Details Hide Details In the election of September 2013 the CDU/CSU parties emerged as winners, but formed another grand coalition with the SPD due to the FDP's failure to obtain the minimum of 5% of votes required to enter parliament. In October 2010, Merkel told a meeting of younger members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party at Potsdam that attempts to build a multicultural society in Germany had "utterly failed", stating that: "The concept that we are now living side by side and are happy about it" does not work and "we feel attached to the Christian concept of mankind, that is what defines us. Anyone who doesn't accept that is in the wrong place here." She continued to say that immigrants should integrate and adopt Germany's culture and values. This has added to a growing debate within Germany on the levels of immigration, its effect on Germany and the degree to which Muslim immigrants have integrated into German society.
  • 2008
    On 4 October 2008, a Saturday, following the Irish Government's decision to guarantee all deposits in private savings accounts, a move she strongly criticised, Merkel said there were no plans for the German Government to do the same.
    More Details Hide Details The following day, Merkel stated that the government would guarantee private savings account deposits, after all. However, two days later, on 6 October 2008, it emerged that the pledge was simply a political move that would not be backed by legislation. Other European governments eventually either raised the limits or promised to guarantee savings in full. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, 2013, she started to say that Europe nowadays has only 7% of the global population and produces only 25% of the global GDP, but that it spends almost 50% of the global social expenditure. The solution to the economic ills of the continent only can consist in raising its competitiveness. Since then, this comparison has become a central element in major speeches. The international financial press has widely commented on her thesis, with The Economist saying that:
  • 2007
    A similar Declaration, signed during Merkel's visit to India in 2007, noted the substantial progress made in Indo-German relations and set ambitious goals for their development in the future.
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    In 2007, Merkel was President of the European Council and chaired the G8, the second woman to do so.
    More Details Hide Details Merkel played a central role in the negotiation of the Treaty of Lisbon and the Berlin Declaration. One of Merkel's priorities was also to strengthen transatlantic economic relations by signing the agreement for the Transatlantic Economic Council on 30 April 2007. It has been said that Merkel played a crucial role in managing the financial crisis at the European and international level, and has been referred to as "the decider." In domestic policy, health care reform and problems concerning future energy development have been major issues during her Chancellorship, and more recently her government's approach to the ongoing refugee crisis.
  • 2006
    Merkel and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a "Joint Declaration" emphasising the Indo-German strategic partnership in 2006.
    More Details Hide Details It turned the focus of future cooperation onto the fields of energy, science and technology, and defence.
    In 2006 Merkel expressed concern about overreliance on Russian energy, but she received little support from others in Berlin.
    More Details Hide Details Merkel favors the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union; but stated in December 2012 that its implementation depends on reforms in Ukraine. Merkel has visited Israel four times. On 16 March 2008, Merkel arrived in Israel to mark the 60th anniversary of the Jewish state. She was greeted at the airport by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, an honor guard and many of the country's political and religious leaders, including most of the Israeli Cabinet. Until then, US President George W. Bush had been the only world leader Olmert had honored by greeting at the airport. Merkel spoke before Israel's parliament, the only foreigner who was not a head of state to have done so, but this provoked rumbles of opposition from Israeli MPs on the far right. At the time, Merkel was also both the President of the European Council and the chair of the G8. Merkel has supported Israeli diplomatic initiatives, opposing the Palestinian bid for membership at the UN. However, Merkel requested that continued building of settlements beyond the Green Line should stop, and disagreed with the Israeli government's behavior. Merkel's latest visit to Israel was on 25–27 February 2014. During her visit, Merkel was awarded Israel's highest civilian award by President Shimon Peres, for her "unwavering commitment to Israel's security and the fight against anti-Semitism and racism."
  • 2005
    On 31 October 2005, after the defeat of his favoured candidate for the position of Secretary General of the SPD, Franz Müntefering indicated that he would resign as party chairman, which he did in November.
    More Details Hide Details Ostensibly responding to this, Edmund Stoiber (CSU), who was originally nominated as Minister for Economics and Technology, announced his withdrawal on 1 November 2005. While this was initially seen as a blow to Merkel's attempt at forming a viable coalition, the manner in which Stoiber withdrew earned him much ridicule and severely undermined his position as a Merkel rival. Separate conferences of the CDU, CSU, and SPD approved the proposed Cabinet on 14 November 2005. The second Cabinet of Angela Merkel was sworn in on 28 October 2009.
    On 22 November 2005, Merkel assumed the office of Chancellor of Germany following a stalemate election that resulted in a grand coalition with the SPD.
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    Merkel was elected Chancellor by the majority of delegates (397 to 217) in the newly assembled Bundestag on 22 November 2005, but 51 members of the governing coalition voted against her.
    More Details Hide Details Reports had indicated that the grand coalition would pursue a mix of policies, some of which differ from Merkel's political platform as leader of the opposition and candidate for Chancellor. The coalition's intent was to cut public spending whilst increasing VAT (from 16 to 19%), social insurance contributions and the top rate of income tax. Merkel had stated that the main aim of her government would be to reduce unemployment, and that it is this issue on which her government will be judged.
    On 18 September 2005, Merkel's CDU/CSU and Schröder's SPD went head-to-head in the national elections, with the CDU/CSU winning 35.3% (CDU 27.8%/CSU 7.5%) of the second votes to the SPD's 34.2%.
    More Details Hide Details Neither the SPD-Green coalition nor the CDU/CSU and its preferred coalition partners, the Free Democratic Party, held enough seats to form a majority in the Bundestag, and both Schröder and Merkel claimed victory. A grand coalition between the CDU/CSU and SPD faced the challenge that both parties demanded the chancellorship. However, after three weeks of negotiations, the two parties reached a deal whereby Merkel would become Chancellor and the SPD would hold 8 of the 16 seats in the cabinet. The coalition deal was approved by both parties at party conferences on 14 November 2005.
    On 30 May 2005, Merkel won the CDU/CSU nomination as challenger to Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of the SPD in the 2005 national elections.
    More Details Hide Details Her party began the campaign with a 21-point lead over the SPD in national opinion polls, although her personal popularity lagged behind that of the incumbent. However, the CDU/CSU campaign suffered when Merkel, having made economic competence central to the CDU's platform, confused gross and net income twice during a televised debate. She regained some momentum after she announced that she would appoint Paul Kirchhof, a former judge at the German Constitutional Court and leading fiscal policy expert, as Minister of Finance. Merkel and the CDU lost ground after Kirchhof proposed the introduction of a flat tax in Germany, again undermining the party's broad appeal on economic affairs and convincing many voters that the CDU's platform of deregulation was designed to benefit only the rich. This was compounded by Merkel's proposing to increase VAT to reduce Germany's deficit and fill the gap in revenue from a flat tax. The SPD were able to increase their support simply by pledging not to introduce flat taxes or increase VAT. Although Merkel's standing recovered after she distanced herself from Kirchhof's proposals, she remained considerably less popular than Schröder, and the CDU's lead was down to 9% on the eve of the election.
  • 2003
    Merkel advocated a strong transatlantic partnership and German-American friendship. In the spring of 2003, defying strong public opposition, Merkel came out in favour of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, describing it as "unavoidable" and accusing Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of anti-Americanism.
    More Details Hide Details She criticised the government's support for the accession of Turkey to the European Union and favoured a "privileged partnership" instead. In doing so, she reflected public opinion that grew more hostile toward Turkish membership of the European Union.
  • 2002
    After Stoiber's defeat in 2002, in addition to her role as CDU Leader, Merkel became Leader of the Opposition in the Bundestag; Friedrich Merz, who had held the post prior to the 2002 election, was eased out to make way for Merkel.
    More Details Hide Details Merkel supported a substantial reform agenda concerning Germany's economic and social system, and was considered more pro-market than her own party (the CDU). She advocated German labour law changes, specifically removing barriers to laying off employees and increasing the allowed number of work hours in a week. She argued that existing laws made the country less competitive, because companies cannot easily control labour costs when business is slow. Merkel argued that Germany should phase out nuclear power less quickly than the Schröder administration had planned.
    Following Merkel's election as CDU Leader, she enjoyed considerable popularity among the German population and polls indicated that many Germans would like to see her become Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's main challenger in the 2002 election.
    More Details Hide Details However, she was subsequently outmaneuvered politically by CSU Leader Edmund Stoiber, to whom she eventually ceded the privilege of challenging Schröder. He went on to squander a large lead in opinion polls to lose the election by a razor-thin margin.
  • 2000
    She was subsequently elected to replace Schäuble, becoming the first female leader of a German party on 10 April 2000.
    More Details Hide Details Her election surprised many observers, as her personality offered a contrast to the party she had been elected to lead; Merkel is a centrist Protestant originating from predominantly Protestant northern Germany, while the CDU is a male-dominated, socially conservative party with strongholds in western and southern Germany, and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, has deep Catholic roots.
  • 1999
    Merkel oversaw a string of CDU election victories in six out of seven state elections in 1999, breaking the long-standing SPD-Green hold on the Bundesrat.
    More Details Hide Details Following a party funding scandal that compromised many leading figures of the CDU—including Kohl himself and his successor as CDU Leader, Wolfgang Schäuble, Merkel criticised her former mentor publicly and advocated a fresh start for the party without him.
  • 1998
    After the Kohl Government was defeated at the 1998 election, Merkel was appointed Secretary-General of the CDU, a key position as the party was no longer part of the federal government.
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    After Kohl was defeated in 1998, Merkel was elected Secretary-General of the CDU before becoming the party's first woman leader two years later in the aftermath of a donations scandal that toppled Wolfgang Schäuble.
    More Details Hide Details Following the 2005 federal election, Merkel was appointed Germany's first woman Chancellor at the head of a grand coalition consisting of the CDU, its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). In the 2009 federal election, the CDU obtained the largest share of the vote and Merkel was able to form a coalition government with the support of the Free Democratic Party (FDP). At the 2013 federal election, Merkel won a landslide victory with 41.5% of the vote, falling just short of an overall majority, and formed a second grand coalition with the SPD, after the FDP lost all of its representation in the Bundestag.
  • 1995
    Merkel has a fear of dogs after being attacked by one in 1995.
    More Details Hide Details Vladimir Putin brought in his pet Labrador during a press conference in 2007. Putin claims he did not mean to scare her, though Merkel later observed, "I understand why he has to do this -- to prove he's a man.... He's afraid of his own weakness." Angela Merkel is a Lutheran member of the Evangelical Church in Berlin, Brandenburg and Silesian Upper Lusatia, a United Protestant (i.e. both Reformed and Lutheran) church body under the umbrella of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). The EKBO is a church of the Prussian Union. Before the 2004 merger of the Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg and the Evangelical Church in Silesian Upper Lusatia (both also being a part of the EKD), she belonged to the former. As a female politician from a centre right party who is also a scientist, Merkel has been compared by many in the English-language press to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Some have referred to her as "Iron Lady", "Iron Girl", and even "The Iron Frau" (all alluding to Thatcher, whose nickname was "The Iron Lady"—Thatcher also had a science degree from Oxford University in chemistry). Political commentators have debated the precise extent to which their agendas are similar. Later in her tenure, Merkel acquired the nickname "Mutti" (a German familiar form of "mother"), said by Der Spiegel to refer to an idealised mother figure from the 1950s and 1960s.
  • 1994
    In 1994, she was promoted to becoming Minister for the Environment and Nuclear Safety, which gave her greater political visibility and a platform from which to build her political career.
    More Details Hide Details As one of Kohl's protégées and his youngest Cabinet Minister, she was frequently referred to by Kohl as "mein Mädchen" ("my girl").
  • 1990
    Merkel stood for election at the 1990 federal election, the first since reunification, and was elected to the Bundestag for the constituency of Stralsund – Nordvorpommern – Rügen, which is in the district of Vorpommern-Rügen.
    More Details Hide Details She has won re-election for this constituency at the six federal elections since. After her first election, she was almost immediately appointed to the Cabinet, serving as Minister for Women and Youth under Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
    Following German reunification in 1990, Merkel was elected to the Bundestag for Stralsund-Nordvorpommern-Rügen in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, a seat she has held ever since.
    More Details Hide Details Merkel was later appointed as the Minister for Women and Youth in 1991 under Chancellor Helmut Kohl, later becoming the Minister for the Environment in 1994.
  • 1989
    In 1989, Merkel got involved in the growing democracy movement after the fall of the Berlin Wall, joining the new party Democratic Awakening.
    More Details Hide Details Following the first (and only) multi-party election of the East German state, she became the deputy spokesperson of the new pre-unification caretaker government under Lothar de Maizière. In April 1990, the Democratic Awakening merged with the East German CDU, which in turn merged with its western counterpart after reunification.
  • 1978
    Merkel worked and studied at the Central Institute for Physical chemistry of the Academy of Sciences in Berlin-Adlershof from 1978 to 1990.
    More Details Hide Details After being awarded a doctorate (Dr. rer. nat.) for her thesis on quantum chemistry, she worked as a researcher and published several papers.
  • 1977
    In 1977, Angela Kasner married physics student Ulrich Merkel and took his surname. The marriage ended in divorce in 1982. Her second and current husband is quantum chemist and professor Joachim Sauer, who has largely remained out of the media spotlight. They first met in 1981, became a couple later and married privately on 30 December 1998.
    More Details Hide Details She has no children, but Sauer has two adult sons from a previous marriage. She is a fervent football fan and has been known to listen to games while in the Bundestag and to attend games of the national team in her official capacity. On 6 January 2014, Merkel fractured a bone in her pelvis in a cross-country skiing accident in Switzerland.
  • 1973
    Merkel was educated in Templin and at the University of Leipzig, where she studied physics from 1973 to 1978.
    More Details Hide Details While a student, she participated in the reconstruction of the ruin of the Moritzbastei, a project students initiated to create their own club and recreation facility on campus. Such an initiative was unprecedented in the GDR of that period, and initially resisted by the University of Leipzig; however, with backing of the local leadership of the SED party, the project was allowed to proceed.
  • 1954
    Merkel was born Angela Dorothea Kasner in 1954, in Hamburg, Germany, the daughter of Horst Kasner (1926–2011), a native of Berlin, and his wife Herlind, born in 1928 in Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland) as Herlind Jentzsch, a teacher of English and Latin.
    More Details Hide Details Her mother was the daughter of the Danzig politician Willi Jentzsch and maternal granddaughter of the city clerk of Elbing (now Elbląg, Poland) Emil Drange. Herlind Jentzsch was once a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany and briefly served as a member of the municipal council in Templin following the German reunification. Merkel has Polish ancestry through her paternal grandfather, Ludwig Kasner, a German national of Polish origin from Posen (now Poznań). The family's original Polish name Kaźmierczak was Germanized to Kasner in 1930. Religion played a key role in Angela Merkel's migration to East Germany. Her father was born a Catholic, but the Kasner family eventually converted to Lutheranism, and he studied Lutheran theology in Heidelberg and afterwards in Hamburg. In 1954, Angela's father received a pastorate at the church in Quitzow (a quarter of Perleberg in Brandenburg), which was then in East Germany, and so the family moved to Templin. Merkel thus grew up in the countryside north of East Berlin.
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