ANGELA Merkel has been chancellor of Germany since 2005, but has recently faced questions about her health after being seen on three occasions shaking violently in public.
Here’s everything you need to know about Merkel, her life, and how long she’s likely to remain in post.
Who is Angela Merkel, how old is she, and is she married?
Angela Merkel, currently 65, was born Angela Kasner in Hamburg, West Germany on July 17 1954.
Her father was a Lutheran pastor while her mother was a teacher of English and Latin.
Merkel was a few months old when her father was given a parish in a small town in Communist East Germany, and she was to grow up in a rural area north of East Berlin.
She studied physics at Karl Marx University in Leipzig, later earning a doctorate in physics and working as a chemist at a scientific academy.
She married fellow student Ulrich Merkel in 1977 but divorced four years later.
Merkel met Berlin chemistry professor Joachim Sauer in 1981 and the couple married privately in 1998.
They do not have any children.
Merkel became leader of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party in 2000 and chancellor in 2005.
Does Angela Merkel speak English?
Angela Merkel does speak English, but rarely does so in public.
Growing up in East Germany under the Soviet Union, she would have learned Russian instead of English as a second language.
In February 2014, Merkel became one of the few heads of government, as opposed to heads of state, to have addressed both houses of the British parliament.
She did not wear an earpiece while being introduced by Speaker John Bercow, and delivered the first half of her own remarks in English.
But at most diplomatic engagements and public speeches, Merkel tends to stick to her native German.
Is Angela Merkel in good health?
On June 18, the German chancellor sparked health concerns after she was seen visibly shaking for an entire minute during a ceremony in Berlin.
She dismissed the concerns, saying the 28C heat had caused dehydration, as she welcomed Ukraine’s new president Volodymyr Zelensky.
She appeared shaky and unsteady as she stood in the midday heat outside her office building as they watched a military display.
The chancellor pursed her lips to control the violent movement and constantly shifted her hands in an uncomfortable display.
Just nine days later, on June 27, she was seen shaking again as she stood alongside President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at an indoor event where Germany’s new justice minister was formally appointed.
And on July 10, she was seen visibly shaking again as she received the Finnish PM Antti Rinne in Berlin.
Asked about the incident at a press conference in Berlin on July 19, Merkel said: “I understand questions about my health.
“It is important that I commit myself to the responsibility of acting as head of government.
“I just would say you have known me for some time and I can perform this role.”
Is she standing down as Chancellor of Germany?
In October 2018, Merkel announced that she would not seek re-election as leader of the CDU at the party convention the following December nor as chancellor at the 2021 election.
The announcement came in the aftermath of heavy losses suffered by the CDU in regional elections.
The leader of the CDU is now Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.
Concerns about Merkel’s health have stirred debate about whether she should stand down as chancellor sooner.
One member of the CDU executive committee has said: “The tremors are fuelling the CDU internal debate about whether the schedule agreed between Merkel and Kramp-Karrenbauer on not changing the guard until 2021 can hold”.
What is her stance on Brexit?
Merkel was opposed to Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, saying after the referendum: “We take note of the British people’s decision with regret…there’s no way round it”.
Speaking at a press conference held jointly with prime minister Boris Johnson, she has said she believes an alternative to the Irish backstop – a key sticking point in Brexit negotiations – could be found.
She said that it remained up to the UK to offer a workable plan, a notion accepted by the prime minister, but that she believed an agreement could be reached within 30 days.
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“The backstop has always been a fall-back option until this issue is solved,” she said.
Mr Johnson said in response: “You rightly say the onus is on us to produce those solutions, those ideas… and that is what we want to do.
Merkel had said previously that a deal would in the “economic interest” of all parties.
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