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The most powerful woman in the decade – Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

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Angela Merkel was born in 1954 at Hamburg, West Germany. She is a German politician who in 2005 became the first woman chancellor of Germany. Merkel’s parents, Horst and Herlind Kasner, met in Hamburg, where his father was studying theology and his mother was teaching Latin and English. The family moved to East Germany within weeks of Merkel’s birth. In 1957, they moved back to Templin, where Merkel completed high school in 1973. After secondary education, Angela Markel, entered Leipzig to study physics at the Karl Marx University (Leipzig University). There she met her first husband, Ulrich Merkel, a physics student, and the pair married in 1977. After graduating in 1978, she worked as a member of the Academic Faculty at the Central Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences in East Berlin. In 1982, Merkel and her husband divorced, although she kept her last name. Angela received a doctorate in Quantum Chemistry in 1986. After completing her PhD in Quantum Chemistry in 1986, she worked as a researcher and published several papers.

Merkel joined politics in 1989, the newly founded Democratic Awakening and in February 1990 became the party’s press spokesperson. That month the party joined the conservative alliance for Germany, a coalition with the German Social Union (USD) and the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Merkel becomes deputy spokeswoman for the Lothar de Maizière government (CDU). She joined the CDU in 1990; this party merged with its western counterpart on October 1, the day before the reunification of Germany.

After the reunification of Germany in 1990, Merkel was elected to the Bundestag for the State of Mecklenburg – Vorpommern. As the protégée of Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Merkel was appointed as Minister of Women and Youth in 1991, later becoming Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in 1994. After the CDU lost the 1998 federal election, Merkel was elected CDU General Secretary, before becoming the party’s first female leader and the first female Leader of the Opposition two years later, in the aftermath of a donations scandal that toppled Wolfgang Schäuble.

Markel’s achievements and contributions to European politics are immense and she has been considered one of the most influential leaders in the world. Merkel is the most powerful woman on Earth in nearly a decade, Forbes said. She won first place in Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women for nine years in a row. Merkel’s advice helped Germany to become the most powerful country in the European Union (EU) and her service to the EU was highly valued. Among her followers, Merkel is often referred to as Mutti, meaning “Mother.”

According to many reports,

·      Merkel remains Europe’s de facto leader, leading the region’s biggest economy after driving Germany through the financial crisis and back to growth.

·      Merkel’s leadership is marked by her steel reserve, standing up to Donald Trump in allowing more than a million Syrian refugees into Germany.

·      According to a survey carried out in October 2020, 75% of adults in 14 European countries trust Merkel more than any other leader in the region.

  • In November 2018, Merkel stepped down as head of the Christian Democratic Union and announced that she would not run for another term in 2021.

“Interestingly, compared with most politicians in the world, Merkel goes through a modest life. Although she is the Chancellor with an annual salary of 300 thousand US dollars, she lives in Berlin in an apartment on the fourth floor in a five-story building at 6 Am Kupfergraben street. Anybody can come over. Although, according to the media, the house is guarded – a police outfit is on duty at the Chancellor’s entrance, but a bell with the name of her husband, Professor Jochim Sauer, hangs on the bell in front of the front door. There are two tram lines in front of Merkel’s windows, and there are no obstacles on the sidewalk; and the police does not ask passers-by to cross to the other side. Also, the media found out, Merkel has a dacha – and this is an ordinary rural house, which is located in the village of Hohenwalde near the Brandenburg town of Templin, where she grew up. The police are also present in the neighborhood, but they do not appear on the street unless it is necessary”.

Now, with Angela Merkel’s resignation, the country has announced a center-left government headed by Olaf Scholz, a social democrat, to replace long-time center-right chancellor Angela Merkel. However, the public is still waiting to see how it might replace such a powerful performance.

Dewondara Arachchi
Dewondara Arachchi
Social and Political Analyser, Writer

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