New Chancellor In Germany

She's A Lady!

As she announced the deal that will make her chancellor, Angela Merkel looked relieved and happy, but there was little sense of triumph.

Her reaction was oddly subdued, considering that Mrs Merkel is breaking the mould of German politics.

Not only will she be the country's first woman chancellor, she will also be the first leader to have grown up in communist East Germany.

But Mrs Merkel had to be pushed by journalists to admit that she was pleased at the agreement with the Social Democrats.

"I'm in a good mood," she said, "but I know that there is a lot of work ahead."

Compromise coalition

Some observers put this down to Mrs Merkel's Protestant work ethic.

But it is more likely a reflection of the intensely difficult negotiations of the past three weeks and the prospect of more to come.

The two parties - which until recently were bitter rivals - don't trust each other.

"Germany needs reform," the CDU MP Michael Fuchs told me. "I hope the SPD understands that too."

Negotiations on the details of future government policy are likely to drag on till mid-November - before the hard business of the grand compromise coalition can begin.


The Grand Coalition. -A recipe for inaction.

2 grams of Economic Liberalism.
1.9 grams of Social Conscience.
8 Tons of partisan politics.
2 grams of economic stagnation.
Some water.

Whisk briskly and leave to stand for 2 years.

Then repeat the whole thing all over again.