Angela Dorothea Merkel (help·info) (German pronunciation: [ˈaŋɡela] or [aŋˈɡeːla doʀoˈteːa ˈmɛʁkl̩]; born Angela Dorothea Kasner, 17 July 1954) is the current Chancellor of Germany. Merkel, elected to the German Parliament from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, has been the chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) since 10 April 2000, and Chairwoman of the CDU-CSU parliamentary party group from 2002 to 2005. She leads a grand coalition with the Christian Social Union (CSU), its Bavarian sister party, and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), formed after the 2005 federal election on 22 November 2005.
On September 27, 2009, Merkel was re-elected to the position of Chancellor with her Christian Democratic Union taking 33.8% of the vote, beating the opposition Social Democrats by eleven percentage points. She will form a coalition government with the Free Democrats who received 14.6 percent, yielding a right of center government with 48 percent of the vote.
In 2007, Merkel was also President of the European Council and chaired the G8. She played a central role in the negotiation of the Treaty of Lisbon and the Berlin Declaration. In domestic policy, health care reform and problems concerning future energy development have thus far been the major policies of her tenure.
Merkel is the first female Chancellor of Germany. From 2006 to 2009, Forbes Magazine has named her the most powerful woman in the world. In 2007 she became the second woman to chair the G8, after Margaret Thatcher.
Chancellor Merkel is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an International network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers whose mission is to mobilize the highest-level women leaders globally for collective action on issues of critical importance to women and equitable development.
In 2008 Merkel received the Charlemagne Prize "for her work to reform the European Union". The prize was presented by Nicolas Sarkozy.