Angela Merkel is Germany's first female chancellor. A Protestant from the former East Germany, she was elected head of state in September 2005 and assumed office on November 22, 2005. She has been the chairwoman of her party, the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), since April 10, 2000.

Despite initial skepticism of her ability to lead Germany, she has proven herself a pragmatic and popular politician who was easily reelected in 2009. Her influence extends well beyond Germany; for four years in a row (2006-09), Forbes magazine named her the most powerful woman in the world. This is especially remarkable considering that she entered politics only after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Upbringing and Personal Life

Merkel was born as Angela Dorothea Kasner on ...

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