Merkel Angela life and biography

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Merkel Angela biography

Date of birth : 1954-07-17
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Hamburg, West Germany
Nationality : German
Category : Politics
Last modified : 2010-05-06
Credited as : Chancellor of Germany, Christian Democratic Union CDU, European Council

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Angela Dorothea Merkel ( née Kasner, born 17 July 1954) is the current Chancellor of Germany. Merkel, elected to the German Parliament from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, has been the chairman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) since 10 April 2000, and Chairman of the CDU-CSU (Christian Social Union) parliamentary coalition from 2002 to 2005.

Angela Merkel is the present Chancellor of Germany, claiming the distinction to be the first German female to attain the position. Along with that, she is also credited with being the youngest person to be German chancellor since the Second World War. Angela was elected to the German Parliament from Angela MerkelMecklenburg-Vorpommern and since April 2000, has also been holding the title of the Chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Angela Merkel was named as the ‘Most Powerful Woman of the World’ in 2007, by Forbes Magazine, for the second consecutive time. She is the third woman to serve on the G8, after Margaret Thatcher and Kim Campbell. In 2007, Angela became the second woman to chair a G8 summit, after Margaret Thatcher. She has served as the president of the European Council and in 2007, became a member of the ‘Council of Women World Leaders’.

Angela Merkel was born as ‘Angela Dorothea Kasner’ on 17th July 1954, in Hamburg, Germany. She was born to Horst Kasner, a Lutheran pastor and his wife, Herlind), a teacher of English and Latin and a member of the ‘Social Democratic Party of Germany’. Angela is the eldest of the three siblings, the other two being Marcus and Irene. Her family moved to Templin, after Horst was made a pastor at the church in Quitzow, near Perleberg, Brandenburg. Thus, she spent majority of her childhood in the countryside, north of Berlin.

Angela Merkel was a member of the official, socialist-led youth movement Free German Youth (FDJ). Thereafter, she also became a member of the district board and secretary for "Agitprop" (agitation and propaganda), at the Academy of Sciences. Even though she was brought up in socialist German Democratic Republic, she never became a participant in the secular coming of age ceremony, Jugendweihe. Rather, she received confirmation.

Early Life
Angela Merkel studied physics in Templin and at the University of Leipzig, from 1973 to 1978. For the next two years, from 1978 to 1990, she worked and studied at the Central Institute for Physical Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences, in Berlin-Adlershof. In 1977, she married the physics student Ulrich Merkel, but got divorced in 1982. Angela has done doctoral thesis on Quantum Chemistry and received a doctorate for the same and also undertaken research work. She married Joachim Sauer, a chemistry professor in 1988.

Political Initiation and Later Life
Angela Merkel stepped into politics in 1989, when she joined the new party Demokratischer Aufbruch, after the fall of the Berlin Wall. After the first (and the only) democratic election of the East German state, she became the deputy spokesperson of the new pre-unification caretaker government, under Lothar de Maizière. Angela was elected to the Bundestag, from a constituency including Nordvorpommern district, Rügen district and the city of Stralsund, in December 1990 and it continued to be her electoral district till today.

She became Minister for Women and Youth in Helmut Kohl's 3rd cabinet, after her party’s merger with West German CDU. In 1994, she was made Minister for the Environment and Reactor Safety, the post which served as foundation of her political career. With the defeat of the Kohl government, in the 1998 general election, Merkel was made the Secretary-General of the CDU. A financial scandal rocked her party in 1999, after which she advocated a fresh start without her mentor, Kohl, and was elected to become the first female chairperson of the party.

Leader of Opposition
The defeat of Stoiber (leader of Bavarian Christian Social Union or CSU, CDU’s sister party) in 2002 led to her to becoming the ‘Leader of the Conservative Opposition’, in Bundestag, the lower house of the German Parliament. During this time, she supported reform agenda relating to Germany's economic and social system, along with changes to German labor law. She even advocated for slower phasing out of Germany's nuclear power, apart from a strong transatlantic partnership and German-American friendship. The support of ‘Iraq-invasion’ and ‘privileged partnership’ to Turkey in EU were some of her other policies.

Chancellor of Germany
Angela Merkel was sworn in as the ‘Chancellor of Germany’ on 22nd November 2005. She leads a Grand coalition, comprising of CDU’s sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). She has been following pro-free-market reform agenda since then, apart from advocating a strong German-American relationship. She has made serious efforts to overhaul government's health care system, along with the burdensome corporate tax policies. Merkel has also made her strict budgetary impact on the extensive European Union budget debates. In 2007, she offered Europe's help to get Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. Recently, she expressed Germany’s support for Israel, during a speech to the Knesset.

Foreign policy

In her first week in office, Merkel visited the French president Jacques Chirac, the EU leaders gathered in Brussels, the Secretary-General of NATO, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and received President Pohamba of Namibia.

On 25 September 2007, Chancellor Angela Merkel met the Dalai Lama for "private and informal talks" in Berlin in the Chancellery amid protest from China. China afterwards cancelled separate talks with German officials, including talks with Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries.

Der Spiegel reported that tensions between Chancellor Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama were eased during a meeting between the two leaders in June 2009. Commenting on a White House Press Conference held after the meeting, 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 mentioning the experiences of Obama's sister in Heidelberg, making it clear that she had read his autobiography".

Policy on the Middle East and Iran

According to the news agency Mehr (as reported in the Mail & Guardian Online and Deutsche Welle, quoting AFP), in August 2006, Merkel received a letter from the Iranian president Ahmadinejad. According to the reports, Merkel said that the letter contained "unacceptable" criticism of Israel and "put in question" the Jewish state's right to exist, and that therefore she would not formally respond to the letter.

On 16 March 2007, 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 bestowed with the honor of greeting at the airport. Merkel was granted special permission to speak before Israel's parliament, which is normally done only by heads of state. Merkel made her first visit to the Middle East as President-in-office of the European Council in April 2007.

Personal life and Honours

In 1977, the former Angela Kasner married physics student Ulrich Merkel. 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. She has no children, but Sauer has two adult sons by a previous marriage.

Having been bitten by a dog as a child, Merkel suffers from cynophobia (a fear of dogs). Former Russian president Vladimir Putin appeared to try and take advantage of this in negotiations by making Merkel a gift of a dog and by having his Labrador dog present at meetings with her.

In 2006, Angela Merkel was awarded the Vision for Europe Award for her contribution toward greater European integration. In 2007 Merkel was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She received the Karlspreis (Charlemagne Prize) for 2008 for distinguished services to European unity.

In January 2008, Merkel was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. She was also awarded the honorary doctorate from Leipzig University in June 2008 and University of Technology in Wrocław (Poland) in September 2008.

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