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Merkel Re-Elected as CDU Party Leader With 98% of Votes

German Chancellor Angela Merkel won the biggest support of any leader of the Christian Democratic Union party since Helmut Kohl reunified Germany in 1990.

Merkel was re-elected as CDU leader with 97.9 percent of the votes today in a poll in Hanover, Germany, after garnering 90.4 percent at the last election for the CDU leadership in 2010. Kohl’s score in 1990 was 98.5 percent.

Merkel, 58, told delegates she was “simply floored” by the election result and spurred party members on to help her win a third term in Germany’s next national election that’s likely to be held in September 2013.

The chancellor is Germany’s most popular politician, ZDF television’s monthly survey shows. Her CDU and its Bavarian Christian Social Union sister party were at 37 percent support, holding a 10-point lead over the opposition Social Democrats, in a Forsa GmbH poll published Nov. 23.

“The result sounds like in communist East Germany,” said Friedrich Thelen, founder of Thelen-Consult, a Berlin-based business advisory group and former parliamentary editor of the business magazine WirtschaftsWoche. “It shows that the CDU has no ideological core anymore. Merkel is the CDU and the CDU is Merkel, but the party needs debate if it wants to have a future beyond Merkel.”

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