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Berliner brief

While Angela Merkel soothes a Germany that is sick of politics, her SPD coalition partners are haemorrhaging leaders. Plus some Stasi revisionism

By Hugh Williamson   July 2006

Merkel and political comfort food

When Angela Merkel scraped into power last year, few people predicted that she would still be riding so high this summer. The woman whom two thirds of voters before the election in September didn’t trust to run the country has become Germany’s most popular leader in decades.

How come? First, she is clever enough to realise that Germans needed a break from politics, or at least from the politics pursued by her predecessor Gerhard Schröder. She has presented herself as everything he was not. While he made loud noises about the need for radical…

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