Angela Dorothea Merkel, the current chancellor of Germany, does not rely on charisma to win over voters. Though her supporters feared if her dowdy image would come in the way of her progress, it hardly mattered for her win in the September 2009 elections.
Often compared to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, her government has been widely criticized as being slow to restructure and recapitalize banking system. However, Merkel supported a substantial reform agenda concerning Germany's economic and social system.
Merkel was also President of the European Council and chaired the G8 in 2007. She played a central role in the negotiation of the Treaty of Lisbon and the Berlin Declaration.
In fact, she is the second woman to chair the G8, after Margaret Thatcher.
In addition to being the first female German chancellor and the youngest German chancellor since the Second World War, Merkel is also the first born after World War II, and the first with a background in natural sciences.
For the power she wields on the world, Merkel has been consistently listed as the top most powerful woman by the Forbes magazine in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.
Text compiled by: K. Sreedevi
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