Merkel reelected party leader, defending disputed policies

08:21, November 16, 2010      

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Angela Merkel, German Chancellor and leader of the conservative party Christian Democratic Union (CDU) officially opens the party convention of the CDU in Karlsruhe, November 15, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was reelected leader of the conservative party Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Monday, as she fought back criticisms on her disputed policies at a national congress of her party.

As the sole candidate, the 56-year-old Merkel won 90.4 percent of 931 valid votes in the conservative party national conference held in the southwestern city of Karlsruhe. Party delegates were asked to simply choose yes or no on the candidate.

This is the fifth two-year term of Merkel as the unchallenged queen of the CDU since 2000. Last time in 2008, she received 94.83 percent of the vote. Some observers said the decline of support showed signs of discontent on the rocky first year of her second term as chancellor.

Before the election, Merkel delivered a 75-minute speech in the conference, defending some of her unpopular policies and urging party colleagues to help Germany move forward in a rapidly changing world.

Partners of the coalition government, which include the CDU, its Bavarian sister party Christian Social Union (CSU) and the pro- business Free Democratic Party (FDP), experienced a hard honeymoon after the federal election in September 2009 and the coordination "was more difficult than expected," Merkel told delegates.

Since the center-right coalition was formed, internal wrangling was often seen on some key issues, such as tax cuts, raising public's dissatisfaction on the operating ability of Merkel's government. In May, the CDU and the FDP suffered a severe defeat in a regional election -- losing power in North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state in Germany and losing majority in the upper house of Parliament.

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