Despite internal division about economic policy, Germany’s Chancellor remains firmly in charge of her ruling party. Angela Merkel has won a vote on the leadership of the conservative CDU, scoring 94.8 percent support. Two years ago she won 93 percent, thus dismissing any concern that her grip on power has been weakened. She told her party’s annual conference: “The centre, this is the strength of Germany. The centre, that is us. And that is why 2009 will be our year.”
Just ahead of the conference, Merkel won backing from her executive board for her refusal to join other countries in slashing taxes. This, despite criticism across Europe and from within her own party for not considering immediate tax relief to boost economic growth amid a recession.