Feisty German minister, mother of seven, stands up to Merkel
BERLIN (REUTERS) - The political wilderness in Germany is filled with once-powerful conservative party barons, overly confident men who dared to challenge Mrs Angela Merkel and lost.
But never before has the German chancellor had to contend with another woman, a popular member of her own cabinet, standing up to her in public in the way Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen did last week.
The 54-year-old von der Leyen forced Mrs Merkel to retreat on, of all things, women's rights in a riveting public showdown just five months before an election.
"It's like von der Leyen threw a stick of dynamite into the coalition," said Mr Gero Neugebauer, political scientist at Berlin's Free University.