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Who is Angela Merkel?

Germany
20.11.2016
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Angela Merkel: The quiet ambition of a global leader
Chancellor Angela Merkel has cultivated the image of a prudent, pragmatic and quietly powerful leader. Despite strong support internationally, Merkel is facing an unprecedented right-wing revolt at home.
GALLERY
Berlin (dpa) - In a chancellorship lasting almost exactly 11 years so far, Angela Merkel has secured Germany‘s place as the paramount power in Europe and consistently been regarded as the most powerful woman in the world today.

Politicians who have had dealings with Merkel say the biggest mistake would be to underestimate her as an introvert with a mediocre dress sense and a repertoire of dull speeches.

She gets her own way by patience and waiting until opponents have exhausted themselves.
In 1998, Merkel audaciously ousted Kohl as leader of their party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Her mentor, former chancellor Helmut Kohl, patronizingly termed her "mein Maedchen" (my girl). In 1998, Merkel audaciously ousted Kohl as leader of their party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Merkel, who has a doctorate in quantum physics, went on to win three general elections, in 2005, 2009 and 2013.

Her domination of the CDU is such that she now has no internal rivals. Her Social Democratic opponents - currently her junior partner in a grand coalition - also don‘t have an obvious contender to challenge her in next year‘s election.

Many Germans call her "Mutti" (mum), with the implication that we are all stuck with our mothers whether we like them or not.

A consummate politician who has been twice married but has never had children, she has deftly steered the European Union towards belt-tightening, characteristically remaining the last one standing at all-night summits.

"You might find that I take a while to make a decision but I think about it before I do something, and that has its advantages," she once said.

That was the chancellor the Germans thought they knew and were expecting to re-elect in 2017, which would put her on par with her one-time mentor Kohl, who headed the government for 16 years.
The cautious Merkel‘s epiphany came September 5, 2015, when she decided to open Germany‘s borders to a stream of refugees heading West through Austria.

The cautious Merkel‘s epiphany came September 5, 2015, when she decided to open Germany‘s borders to a stream of refugees heading West through Austria.

It was the first time Merkel led the Germans from the front, ignoring opposition on the right, coaxing her people to be generous and build shelters for the new arrivals, and serenely declaring: "We can cope."

Nearly 900,000 migrants arrived in 2015. Although numbers this year are set to be about a third of that figure, cities and towns have complained that they are running out of space to house Syrians, Afghan, Balkan and many other asylum-seekers.

The controversial policy has brought a slide in Merkel‘s popularity, and a corresponding rise in the strength of the right-wing, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Abroad, Merkel is at the height of her power, with both France and outgoing EU member Britain enjoying far less authority than Germany on the continent.

A key part of her legacy remains her mastery of the euro debt crisis, despite the pushback from impoverished Greece where she was often demonized in cartoons as if she were a new generation of Nazi.
Russias President Vladimir Putin (L), FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter (C) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) attend the closing ceremony prior to the FIFA World Cup 2014 final between Germany and Argentina at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 13 July 2014.

A fluent Russian speaker, she has not been afraid to stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin. To secure a truce in eastern Ukraine, she badgered the Russians and strong-armed Kiev to live up to peace terms they had agreed to in talks.

Merkel‘s character was shaped by her childhood within a totalitarian system. Born in Hamburg in 1954, she was taken to communist East Germany to grow up by her leftist Lutheran clergyman father.

She worked as a scientist at the Central Institute for Physical Chemistry in the former German Democratic Republic. Untainted by communist ties, her political career began as spokeswoman for the first post-communist GDR government.

After German reunification in 1990, she joined the CDU and was elected to the first all-German parliament. A year later Kohl brought her into his cabinet as minister of health and women‘s affairs.

Her ruthless streak - often attributed to her scientific mind - only emerged during her rise to the top. Among those she rammed aside was Wolfgang Schaeuble, briefly CDU leader. They later reconciled and he is a loyal aide as Germany‘s finance minister.

Merkel, whose husband Joachim Sauer is a scientist, lives modestly without expensive possessions. She has a Berlin apartment, takes weekend breaks in a country cottage, and does her own shopping.

 

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|pop_date = 2008-12-31|pop_urban = 3700000|pop_metro = 5000000|elevation = 34 - 115|GDP = 81.7|GDP_year = 2007|Website = / |leader_title = Governing Mayor|leader = Klaus Wowereit|leader_party = SPD|ruling_party1 = SPD|ruling_party2 = Die Linke|votes
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|pop_date = 2007-10-31|pop_metro = 4300000|GDP = 86.153|GDP_year = 2006|GDP_percent = 3.9|Website = |leader_title = First Mayor|leader = Ole von Beust|leader_party = CDU|ruling_party1 = CDU|ruling_party2 = Green
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