The Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Germany's ruling conservative party, has once again shown its unwavering support for Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday as she was elected party leader for the eighth consecutive time at the party conference in Cologne. According to German news agency dpa, only 30 of the 919 delegates voted against her.
Merkel was elected by a staggering 97.7 percent, though even that doesn't beat her record of 97.9 percent in 2012. Indeed, in her eight elections since 2000, the lowest backing she has ever received was 88.4 percent in 2004.
Merkel thanked her party for the "overwhelming vote of confidence" after the results were announced.
'The world is waiting'
Before the vote, Chancellor Merkel gave a 60 minute speech which she used to defend her tough fiscal stance, pointing out that her government has introduced the first balanced budget in 46 years, which is one of her proudest achievements since being elected to a third term as chancellor last year.
She also spoke about the need to foster entrepreneurship in Germany: "Young entrepreneurs should be helped not only in the United States but also in Europe," adding "the world is waiting for us," at the end of her speech, for which her fellow party members gave her a 10-minute standing ovation.
Merkel also blasted grand coalition partners the Social Democrats (SPD) in her speech, calling their decision to partner with the Left and Green parties in the eastern state of Thuringia "bankrupt" and praising former coalition partners the Free Democrats (FDP), another conservative party that did not make the required 5 percent of the vote to gain seats in the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, in last year's election.
es/an (AFP, dpa)