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Angela Merkel's Biography

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Who is Angela Merkel?

Germany's first woman chancellor, Angela Merkel, was born in Hamburg in 1954.

Her father Horst Kasner was a Lutheran pastor.

In 1978 Merkel gained a physics doctorate, and then worked as a chemist at a scientific academy in East Berlin.

Angela Merkel joined the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in 1990 - just two months before German reunification.

Only a few months later Merkel was minister for women and youth in Helmut Kohl's cabinet.

In April 2000 Angela Merkel was chosen to lead the CDU after a party slush fund scandal. Initially, Merkel had denied allegations that bribes were paid for the supply of tanks to Saudi Arabia, but she was the first of Kohl's supporters to break ranks and in so doing made a name for herself.

In the summer of 2005 pundits regarded Angela Merkel as favourite over Gerhard Schroeder to become German chancellor in the September election.

The election was incredibly close. Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) got 35.2% - just three seats more than Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD). The election result left confusion with both Schroeder and Merkel claiming they had a mandate to be chancellor.

After the dust settled, and much trading between the rival parties, Angela Merkel became the first woman and the first East German to get the job as Chancellor.

In September 2009, Angela Merkel was re-elected to a second term as German chancellor.

In November 2009, Angela Merkel became only the second German leader to address Congress. The first was Konrad Adenauer in 1957.

In September 2013, Angela Merkel won a third term in power. Her conservative CDU bloc gained 41.5% of the vote. It was their best result since 1994.

In 2015, Angela Merkel caused a stir when she declared all Syrian refugees welcome in Germany.

In November 2016, Angela Merkel announced that she would run for a fourth-term in office.

She won the election on Sunday 24 September 2017, in spite of her conservative CDU/CSU bloc having its worst result in almost 70 years.

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