But she has been eclipsed by Steinbrueck in a TV debate, in parliament and in townhall meetings with voters this week. Although Merkel enjoys a bonus as the incumbent chancellor, Steinbrueck has been able to score points on the campaign trail with his direct and cerebral check it out style - and newfound humility. "Steinbrueck has been attacking more and that has livened up the campaign," said Michael Spreng, a prominent media advisor. "But the challenger has to be a lot better than the incumbent when there is no mood for change, not just a bit better." A drum beat of media criticism of Merkel's "presidential style" may be taking a toll. She was portrayed as "Queen Angela the Great" in a scathing cover portrait in weekly news magazine Der Spiegel, which was titled: "The new smugness of Angela M." "No other chancellor has amassed as much power in eight years as Merkel but she doesn't use her influence and in her campaign she avoids any and all discussion about the future," Der Spiegel wrote. "Her platform is simple: Merkel." Steinbrueck, who fancies himself as a straight-talking defender of center-left values, was long seen as arrogant but tried to project a humbler image in two radio and TV debates.
Merkel will run for her third term in the German general elections on Sept. 22. Left are Minister of State at the Foreign Ministry Michael Georg Link, second left Vice Chancellor and Economic Minister Philipp Roesler and right Roland Pofalla, Head of the Federal Chancellery. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) BERLIN (AP) -- Chancellor Angela Merkel's junior coalition partners on Thursday formally ruled out teaming up with her center-left rivals, portraying themselves as a bulwark against tax hikes and pooling of European debt as they sought to motivate supporters ahead of Germany's elections. The pro-market Free Democratic Party joined Merkel's government when her second term began in 2009, a center-right alliance that has at times been bad-tempered. Polls show only a wafer-thin majority for the coalition.
Angela Merkel rival causes storm with middle-finger photo
The photograph, on the front page of Friday's edition of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung Magazine, shows Peer Steinbrueck making a gesture with his middle finger in response to a question referring to the gaffe-prone early months of his campaign. Though Steinbrueck authorised the publication of the photo, it could damage his bid to oust Merkel as chancellor by reinforcing a public image of him as arrogant and maladroit - especially among women voters, whose support he needs. It comes as Steinbrueck's Social Democrats make late gains in the opinion polls, helped by his efforts to project a gentler, more human image to voters. But Merkel's conservatives remain well ahead. Philipp Roesler, leader of the liberal Free Democrats who hope to renew their coalition with Merkel's conservatives after the Sept. 22 election, told Spiegel Online: "A candidate for chancellor is forbidden to make such a gesture." "Giving somebody the finger is not funny.
One woman to rule them all
Two elections posters for Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader Angela Merkel on display in Berlin With 32 million female voters versus 30 million male, the women's vote will be crucial in what is expected to be a tight race for a ruling coalition. On her campaign website www.angela-merkel.de, the leader nicknamed "Mutti" (Mummy) by her own party for her soothing, no-nonsense style touts her domestic proclivities. Forbes magazine's most powerful woman in the world for seven of her eight years in office and the proud recipient of a doctorate in physics is seen heavily made-up, http://www.savingsdaily.com/post/railway-in-quebec-disaster-allowed-to-operate-till-oct-1 gazing adoringly at her chemist husband. One could be forgiven for thinking he was the candidate. "At home far from the hurly-burly of politics I can free my mind, read and gather my strength with my family," she writes, in what several commentators called a turn at "playing the housewife".
Bavaria's vote a prelude to German election
As Merkel looks to a strong showing in Bavaria for support, her center-left challenger, Peer Steinbrueck, has been downplaying the vote's significance, insisting that "the federal election isn't being decided here." His Social Democrats fielded well-known Munich Mayor Christian Ude as their candidate for governor, but prospects look visit homepage poor for his hopes of http://chaseohiv.skyrock.com/3181599849-UPDATE-3-Deutsche-Wohnen-makes-2-3-bln-bet-on-Berlin-property-with-GSW.html ousting the CSU in a several-party alliance and his personal ratings trail Seehofer's badly. Steinbrueck argues that people often vote differently in federal and state elections, and says the outcome "won't change anything" in his party's national election campaign. Manfred Guellner, the head of the Forsa polling agency, also is skeptical that the outcome in Bavaria will have more than a "minimal" impact on the national vote. Merkel is heavily favored to emerge from the Sept. 22 national election with a third four-year term. Polls show Merkel's conservative bloc of her Christian Democrats and the Bavaria-only CSU leading the pack - though not by the 25-point margin or more the CSU enjoys in Bavaria.
Merkel takes on "Mummy" image in German campaign
She has refused to lead public opinion, never spelling out to her voters how much Germany is to blame for the euro mess (nor how much its banks have been rescued by its bail-outs). We also worry that she has not done enough at home: in recent years no country in the European Union http://reezlack.livejournal.com/3954.html has made fewer structural reforms, and her energy policies have landed Germany with high subsidies for renewables and high electricity prices. And yet we believe Mrs Merkel is the right person to lead her country and thus Europe. That is partly because of what she is: the worlds most politically gifted democrat and a far safer bet than her leftist opponents. It is also partly because of what we believe she could still becomethe great leader Germany and Europe so desperately needs. In this section World politics Stick with Mutti Politically, few can match Mrs Merkel. As other leaders have soared and dipped (Barack Obama and David Cameron spring to mind) or not taken off at all (poor Francois Hollande), she has remained both popular and trusted.