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Last updated on May 31st, 2020 at 12:51 pm

Incumbent German Chancellor and leader of the Christian Democratic Union, Angela Merkel is a 62-year-old prominent political figure. Prior to entering German politics, Merkel was a research scientist with a doctorate in physical chemistry.

Early Life and Education

On 17 July 1954, Angela Merkel was born to a pastor father, Horst Kasner, and a teacher mother, Herlind. She grew up with a brother and a sister under the religious principles of. All Kasner siblings schooled together in East Berlin.

As Merkel graduated from high school, she joined the University of Leipzig for an undergraduate study in physics. After the University of Leipzig, Merkel went to the Academy of Sciences to do an interdisciplinary course in physical chemistry. Besides physics, she became proficient in Russian language and Mathematics as well. Finishing up her academic career, Merkel started working as a researcher.

Personal Life

The young and vibrant Angela Merkel married in 1977. Her husband Ulrich Merkel was a physicist, so they got along quite well until 1982. After a divorce in 1982, Merkel tied a marital knot with Joachim Sauer in 1988. They couple never had any children.

Angela Merkel with her husband.
Angela Merkel with her husband.

To dig deeper, Merkel is cynophobic – a fear of dogs. When Russian President Vladimir Putin brought a dog at a joint conference, Merkel commented that such act was ‘to prove he is a man’.

Career

Started as a physical chemistry researcher, Merkel entered mainstream German politics in 1990 by standing in the federal election. She got elected to the Bundestag. Then, in 1994, she held the position of the Minister for Environment and Nuclear Safety. Unfortunately, Merkel’s career slowed down after then Kohl’s government faced a defeat in 1998 election. To a brighter side, Merkel was subsequently appointed as the Secretary-General of Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

As Merkel started her leadership, CDU saw an astounding rise in German politics – the party grabbed victories in six out of seven states. Consequently, Merkel succeeded Wolfgang Schauble as the CDU leader. However, she wasn’t immediately able to stand for Chancellor of Germany. As the party lost the 2002 election, Merkel became the opposition leader in the Bundestag.

As an opposition leader, Merkel supported economic, social and legal reforms in the country. Likewise, she also worked against the tendency of acquiring nuclear arms and called for a stronger relationship between the countries in America and Europe. Merkel was also active on the issues related to EU. For instance, she opposed government on the accession of Turkey into the economic union.

Following Merkel’s successful tenure as the party leader, she was nominated to run for Chancellor against Gerhard Schroder in 2005. Merkel’s party led the election with 35.3% votes, though it wasn’t enough to create a majority government. Hence, a deal had to reached to appoint a Chancellor via three-party coalition. Unanimously, CDU leader Angela Merkel assumed the office on 22 November 2005. Now, she has already been elected Chancellor of Germany for three consecutive terms.

Looking at Merkel’s words in 2010, it’s reasonable to say that she is not a big fan of creating a multicultural identity. Hence, she wants immigrants to comply with German ways. On foreign relations, Merkel has remained strong in bringing nations together for improved European cooperation, international trade agreements, and trans-Atlantic relations. She was one of the signatories of Transatlantic Economic Council in 2007. Likewise, she remains an exemplary international leader by attending every G20 meeting since 2008.

During economic crisis, Merkel administration was cooperative and supportive in formulating new plans to solve problems. For example, Germany was one of the countries which bailed out Greece in the middle of crisis. Similarly, Chancellor Merkel has also been critical of the fact that European economies account for 50% of world consumption while they only make up 25% of world’s production.

Unlike any other world leaders, Merkel hovers around 50% plus approval rating in opinion polls. While she was at 54% in 2015, she increased slightly – by 5 points – in 2017. However, during 2011 coalition, she had a mere support from just around 36% voters.

Controversies

Chancellor Merkel is repeatedly criticized in the media for numerous unpopular moves she had made throughout her leadership. To start with, Germans did not like to see their leader personally involved in handing over M100 Media Award to Kurt Westergaard. In addition, Merkel’s word ‘alternativlos’, as she used to refer European sovereign-debt crisis, created chaos. Most of all, she remained quiet when her personal phone was tapped by the American intelligence. This perhaps wasn’t the intended response from Merkel’s well-wishers.

Donald Trump and Angela Merkel

Merkel and Donald Trump have a long history behind them. Hilariously, it noticeably started when Trump criticized TIME for choosing Merkel as its person of the year. Now, as Trump has shockingly been elected to the White House, the two have been struggling to comply. Although Merkel extended a congratulatory hand, she had been critical of Trump’s post-win moves.

On travel ban, Merkel does not support restricting people from certain countries. Like every other EU leaders, she is also not yet sure about how the US-EU ties will go in the future. Likewise, according to Spiegel Online, Merkel ‘anticipates frosty relations with the US’.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnA0RtmzYBM

 

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