Angela Merkel, from a research scientist to a prominent politician

Written by | Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Chancellor Angella Merkel, head of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has won a third term as the top political leader in Germany after her ruling conservative  bloc won 41.5 pc of the votes in the parliamentary elections held September 22, 2013.
CDU party and its Bavarian sister Christian Social Union (CSU) gleaned 41,5 pc of the votes, advancing opposition party of the Social Democrats (SPD) which won 26 pc of the votes.
The former communist Left Party ranked third in the polls overall standings getting 8.6 pc of the votes, followed by Green Party (8.4 pc), the Free Democratic party (4.8 pc) while the AfD party finished last with only 4.7 pc of the votes.
Despite her stunning victory, Merkel’s coalition failed to win an absolute majority. Her party won 311 seats in the Bundestag  – just five seats short of an absolute majority. So, Ms Merkel is now forced to form a coalition government with the opposition SPD which has 192 seats, or with the Greens having 63 seats.
But Merkel is known as the “Queen of consensus” and is expected to weather through the political storms and hammer out an agreement with her opponents. She is also often described as the New Iron Lady of Europe as Margaret Thatcher of Britain. During the eurozone crisis and bailouts to save failing European economies, Merkel stood firm and insisted on fiscal responsibility and austerity measures (including book balancing, reducing spending…) before signing the checks for the bailed-out nations crumbling under the ballooning debts.
During the campaign, Merkel avoided speaking about the issue of the eurozone crisis and focused on the good performance of the German economy which increased sharply in the second quarter of 2013, gaining steam from a pickup in investment and robust consumption. The German economic growth helped pull the euro zone out of its longest postwar recession in the second quarter.
In her third term, Merkel faces tough political decisions and challenges. These challenges include the contributions the German taxpayers are willing to pay for the eurozone bailouts, an issue which may play out in favor of Germany new anti-Euro party.
Ms Merkel is criticized at home for abandoning Germany’s dependence on atomic power after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Her plan to rely exclusively on green energy sources might backfire and push up the energy prices.
On the international scene, Merkel is criticized for failing to adopt a more pro-active foreign policy. She will be under pressure to spell out a clear German position on worldwide key issues as Syria, Afghanistan, Israeli-Palestinian conflict…
The rise of Merkel to power tells the story of an extraordinary woman. She is the first woman Chancellor. Although she was born in Hamburg, West Germany, she grew up as a communist in Eastern Germany. Her father was a socialist Lutheran pastor. He moved there to serve in a Church before the country was split into two parts (East Germany/West Germany). Her father had a deep influence on her political views and stands.
While she was in Eastern Germany, she was unable to express openly her views because of the communist totalitarian regime. She was a gifted in Mathematics and got her Ph.D. in quantum chemistry. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, she engaged in political movements like most eastern Germans who took control of their lives after years of fears and oppression.
Merkel joined the Christian Democrats and became a member of the Bundestag in 1990. Nine years later, she was picked up by Chancellor Helmut Kohl as member of his cabinet wherein she served as minister for women. This was her first government portfolio before she was promoted as minister of the environment. This is how “Angie” started climbing up the political ladder slowly and cautiously until she reached the top in 2000 when she was elected Head of the CDU. In 2005, Merkel became the first woman chancellor and since then she kept on rising. She has proven her statesmanship skills and art of diplomacy. It seems that her hard work and patience have finally paid off.

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