Saturday, September 19, 2009

First Woman Chancellor of Germany

By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM

Angela Merkel is the name of the most powerful woman of Germany. The political pundits were surprised at her meteoric rise in the German political firmament. When she sent Helmut Kohl, the most powerful Chancellor in post-war Germany packing home, her political adversaries in her own party were overawed. The giant killer earned respect as a former provincial dowdy woman with a poor dress sense who made it to the top. Little did detractors realise that Angela Merkel, a childless divorcee who carried surname of her first husband, is out and out a pragmatist and knew which way the wind was blowing.

Born in Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany, her father moved the family to a small town in East Germany where he was appointed a Pastor in a Protestant church. Her family background helped her become the first Protestant Chancellor who broke the male monopoly of Roman Catholics from West Germany. She married a second time and her husband Joachim Sauer is a Chemistry Professor in Berlin. They have no children. She is a committed politician and a devoted housewife.

What is it that makes Angela Merkel so successful in the high brow male dominated political world. Well, it is her devotion to duty and determination to achieve the goal. She determines the AIM and maintains her aim so that she knows how to go about achieving the aim. Criticism of detractors does not bother her except that she doubles her effort to reach the goal surmounting hurdles on the way. It is not the dress or the facial makeover that matters to her, it is the ability to do for the country what her countrymen expect of her.

As a Chancellor of Germany elected to the office in 2005 with a wafer thin majority, Angela Merkel won the hearts and minds of her compatriots by her hard work and spectacular results in ameliorating the hardships of the common man. She successfully steered Germany out of the notorious economic recession and made the German economy the biggest in Europe leaving erstwhile economic giants way behind. In the European Union she came to be known as a high achiever and one who solved the vexatious problems in an amicable manner. When in trouble, other European nations looked up to her to lend a helping hand and find solutions to problems of gigantic nature.

Her critics say that she compromises her principles for political expediency. She does not contest this charge. When she came to power in 2005, she invited the opposition politicians , including her challenger to the high office, to join the coalition government and they did. This sagacious move gave political stability to her government and she did not have to waste time and energy in saving her government from opposition attacks every now and then. Indeed, as a Christian Democrat she had to make concessions to the Social democrats in the shape of fixing minimum wages and social welfare more akin to the communist philosophy than to her own. That is indeed the art of running a successful government for the sake of the country by making compromises. In India we call it the Coalition Dharma and the people get used to it.

Angela Merkel,54, had visited India in 2007 and had paid a visit to the Rajghat to lay a wreath at the Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi. She studied the regional problems and ways to neutralise impact of Islamic terrorism. She maintains an independent foreign policy and overrides illogical opposition of other countries to her considered moves. Once she had decided to grant time to the Dalai Lama for a meeting with her, she went ahead with the pre-determined schedule, notwithstanding diplomatic opposition by the People’s Republic of China. Her will power and her resolve not to be cowed down makes her stand in line with Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of the United kingdom, also known as the Iron Lady. Apparently Angela Merkel enjoys such comparisons as these will ensure for her a place in the world history. As it is, she stands in the galaxy of most powerful women of the world and the US magazine, Forbes, ranked her there for three consecutive years. Indeed it was not without reason.

Come elections; come September – the balmy days that give comfort. It will be more than balmy for Angela Merkel as on 27 Sep 2009 in the national elections her party will be returned to power. Thereafter, there will be no stopping Chancellor Angela Merkel from being re-elected Chancellor of Germany to be in that august office for her second term. The people are with Angela Merkel and Angela Merkel is with the people. Together they will make Germany a super power and a global force to reckon with.
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