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Feisty German minister, mother of seven, stands up to Merkel

Published on Apr 22, 2013 2:15 PM
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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 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 (above) did last week. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

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.

 
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