German Chancellor Angela Merkel suffered
two shaking attacks in eight days, but she says she is “fine” after
the two public episodes have sparked concerns about her health.
Speaking at the G20 summit in Osaka,
Angela Merkel said she was convinced that “this reaction will disappear
just as it has arisen”, German news agency DPA said.
Asked what lay behind it and whether
she had seen a doctor, Angela Merkel said she had “nothing in particular
On June 27, the German chancellor was
seen shaking for two minutes at a ceremony in Berlin.
Angela Merkel, who turns 65 next
month, gripped her arms until she became steadier. She was offered a glass of
water but did not drink it.
The previous incident – which she
later blamed on dehydration – saw her shaking while standing next to Ukraine’s
President Volodymyr Zelensky in hot sunshine.
In 2017, Angela Merkel had an earlier bout of shaking in hot weather on a
visit to Mexico as she was attending a military honors ceremony.
Reports said that subsequent medical checks had found nothing to be wrong.
Government spokesman Steffen Seibert tweeted a video of the
chancellor making a speech covering topics such as extremism, women’s
empowerment and climate change. It showed her standing and speaking in a
Angela Merkel is now in her fourth term as chancellor, a role she began in
November 2005. She has said she will leave politics when her current term ends
She has a reputation for remarkable stamina – during intensive late-night
discussions at EU summits, for example.
Angela has been in good health while in office, and even worked from home
after a knee operation in 2011. She suffered a fall while skiing in 2014. Her
absences were only brief on those occasions. Her mother died earlier this year.
Angela Merkel said she took “full responsibility” for poor performance.
She said: “As chancellor and leader of the CDU I’m politically responsible for everything, for successes and for failures.
“When people are telling us what they think of how the government was formed and what they think of our work during the first seven months of this parliament… then it is a clear signal that things can’t carry on as they are.
“The time has come to open a new chapter.”
Angela Merkel also made it clear she would not handpick her successor as party leader and would “accept any democratic decision taken by my party”.
However, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer would be the obvious choice for Merkel loyalists to replace her. She is currently the party secretary.
Health Minister Jens Spahn, a leading critic of Angela Merkel’s open-door migration policies, has also announced his candidacy.
Friedrich Merz, a former leader of the CDU-CSU parliamentary group and an old rival to Angela Merkel, has thrown his hat into the ring.
Angela Merkel’s CDU plunged 11 percentage points to 27% in October 28 elections in the central state of Hesse, according to preliminary results. This was the CDU’s worst showing in the state since 1966.
The SPD, which is in coalition with the CDU nationally, fell by a similar amount to 19.8%.
The main beneficiaries were the Greens, who paradoxically share power with the CDU in the state and have now drawn level with the SPD, and the far-right AfD, who rose to 13%.
The Hesse vote follows a pattern of losses for the two main parties, with the AfD doing particularly well in eastern states.
Two weeks ago, the CDU’s Bavarian ally, the CSU, lost its absolute majority in the state’s parliament which it has dominated since 1957. Like in Hesse, the SPD also lost badly and the Greens and AfD surged.
While the Greens appear to have benefited from the SPD’s slump in support, it seems clear that the centre-right has lost voters to the AfD.
Part of the reason could be anger at Angela Merkel’s decision to open Germany’s borders to large numbers of refugees, a move which the AfD has vehemently opposed.
Helmut Kohl has won a legal battle to keep 200 tapes recording his political life.
A court in Cologne ruled against Helmut Kohl’s former ghost-writer, Heribert Schwan, who claimed copyright ownership of the tapes.
Helmut Kohl was Germany’s chancellor when the Cold War ended and he played a key role in German reunification in 1990.
The tapes, recorded in 2001, formed the basis of Helmut Kohl’s memoirs. They do not chronicle a big party funding scandal.
Heribert Schwan, a journalist, recorded a total of 630 hours with the former chancellor and published three volumes covering Helmut Kohl’s life and political career from 1930 to 1994.
Helmut Kohl has won a legal battle to keep 200 tapes recording his political life
But before the final volume could be finished the two men fell out, after Heribert Schwan released a book about Helmut Kohl’s first wife, Hannelore. As a result, Helmut Kohl’s memoirs detailing the last four years of his political career, until he lost power in 1998, have never been published.
This is a seen as a crucial period, because of the financing scandal which rocked his centre-right Christian Democrat (CDU) party, scarring its reputation for years.
The slush fund scandal was uncovered in 1999, when it was revealed that through the 1990s the CDU had received donations illegally under Helmut Kohl’s leadership. Secret bank accounts and illegal wire transfers from foreign banks had boosted CDU coffers.
Amid the public outrage, the party’s leaders were forced to step down, allowing Angela Merkel to take over as CDU leader. In 2005 she became Germany’s first female chancellor.
The tapes are valuable also because Helmut Kohl now has difficulties speaking, after a stroke and accident six years ago.
Helmut Kohl was modern Germany’s longest-serving chancellor, with a 16-year tenure, which coincided with the peaceful end of the Cold War.
His memories of that turbulent period in German history are viewed as historically crucial source material.
Although the judge ruled in favor of Helmut Kohl there was also an indirect criticism of him. In the judge’s view, the tapes are too important to be stored in someone’s cellar, but rather should be stored safely in a public archive.
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