Merkel sets stage for 2013 elections

2012-12-04 18:02


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Berlin - Chancellor Angela Merkel launched her bid for re-election on Tuesday, telling party faithful her government has successfully steered Germany through the worst of the European financial crisis and is best equipped to guide it through what may still be tough times ahead.

Speaking at her Christian Democratic Union's party congress in Hannover, she noted that unemployment in Germany was down, the economy was still growing while others in Europe were stagnating or shrinking and that the deficit had been reduced.

"We have guided Germany out of the crisis stronger than Germany entered the crisis," she said to a cheering audience.

In a nod to her struggling coalition Free Democratic Party partners, she said "in these times no coalition could lead our country better.

"This government is the most successful government since reunification," she said.

Party members gave Merkel's record a resounding endorsement after her speech, re-electing her as the CDU leader with a landslide majority of 98% of the vote.

Merkel has led the party since 2000 and has governed Europe's biggest economy as the country's first female chancellor since 2005.

Nationally, recent polls show Merkel's personally far more popular than Peer Steinbrueck, the main opposition Social Democratic Party's candidate for chancellor.

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