Angela Merkel Germany’s First Female Chancellor
Christian Democrat Union leader Angela Merkel is going to become Germany’s first woman chancellor, after finally working out a deal with the Social Democratic Party.
Angela Merkel is poised to become Germany’s first female chancellor after her conservatives sealed a deal Friday with the center-left Social Democrats to form a coalition government tasked with energizing Europe’s largest economy and mending relations with the United States. The agreement Ã¢€” which addresses crippling unemployment and heralds painful tax increases Ã¢€” came nearly two months after inconclusive elections forced the longtime opponents into talks on a “grand coalition” of Germany’s biggest parties, the first such alliance since 1969.
“We want to make more of Germany and we, the two big parties, want with these policies to win back people’s trust in the ability of politicians,” said a beaming Merkel, 51, who will also be the first chancellor from Germany’s former communist east.
Merkel’s Christian Democrats and outgoing Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s Social Democrats were bitter rivals until voters in September gave neither a majority to govern in coalitions with their preferred smaller partners. The conservatives emerged just ahead of the Social Democrats Ã¢€” setting the scene for a three-week power struggle in which both she and Schroeder claimed the right to lead the new government. Schroeder eventually gave way in an Oct. 10 deal but extracted a promise that his party would have equal representation in Merkel’s Cabinet and key ministries such as foreign affairs and finance. That deal paved the way for drawn-out negotiations that concluded Friday.
This should also further advance the thaw in U.S.-German relations.