Who is Angela Merkel?

Franziska Augstein

In 1998, Helmut Kohl, who had governed reunited Germany for eight years and West Germany for eight years before that, was defeated at the polls, and Gerhard Schröder took over running the country. Even Kohl’s party was fed up with him: ‘Fatty’s got to go’ was the refrain. A year later it emerged that he had accepted more than a million marks in donations, and instead of passing the money on to the party as he was bound to do, used it to reward the constituencies and colleagues who had stood loyally by him. When the affair came to light he – again illegally – refused to identify the donor, claiming to have given him his ‘word of honour’ that he would remain anonymous.

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