Germany: Merkel and Tensions at the Top


Growing gap Merkel and Westerwelle before a weekly Cabinet meeting last month

When Germany's Deputy Chancellor and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle held a briefing for reporters in Berlin last month, he arrived exuding an aura of defiance and ebullience. It didn't last. Germany's Westerwelle had come to talk about the Bundestag's decision to send more troops to Afghanistan. Instead, he found himself bombarded with questions about a rumored rift with his boss, Chancellor Angela Merkel. "We have an absolutely untarnished relationship," Westerwelle insisted. "We text each other like there's no tomorrow."

Perhaps they should talk, instead. Five months after Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party began forming a new...

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