Merkel Fractures Pelvis in Ski Accident; Doctors Say to Rest

German Chancellor Angela Merkel suffered a pelvic fracture after falling during a cross-country skiing trip, forcing her to cancel appointments during the next three weeks.

Merkel, 59, is under doctor’s orders to spend time lying down after she stumbled during a Christmas vacation that ended Dec. 30 in Switzerland’s Engadin region, chief government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters today in Berlin. While the chancellor still intends to work, a scheduled visit to Warsaw this week was among the trips that were canceled, Seibert said.

“The doctor’s advice is to lie down a lot,” Seibert said. The injury, which Seibert described as an “incomplete fracture,” is “no reason for regular medical bulletins,” he said. The chancellor will do most of her work from home and requires crutches to walk, said Seibert.

Merkel’s injury to the left-rear pelvic region sidelines her during the first weeks of her third-term “grand coalition” with the Social Democrats. That leaves the field open for the SPD led by Sigmar Gabriel, the vice chancellor, to try and gain profile during her enforced public absence less than a month after she was sworn in.

Davos No-Show

The chancellor doesn’t plan on attending the World Economic Forum this month in Davos, Switzerland, Seibert said. He didn’t specify which appearances Merkel will scrap, though said that she aims to lead the cabinet on Jan. 8.

A Jan. 10-11 meeting of her Christian Democratic Union that she had been due to address will now take place at a later date, the party said in an e-mailed release.

The delay before the injury was made public highlights the private nature of a German leader’s vacation time. Whereas the U.S. president is accompanied by a pool of media wherever he goes, a German chancellor vacations without the public being told where she is and with no regular updates given of her movements.

Immediately after the accident, Merkel initially assumed that the fall caused “only a bruise, even though it already was painful,” Seibert said. She returned to Berlin on Dec. 30 to record her televised New Year’s address still thinking she was bruised.

Doctors on Jan. 3 told her it was “a bit more than that,” and told her she should lie down over the next weeks, Seibert said.

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