The CDU may have had its worst election result since 1949, but the chancellor has been here before and pulled through

Since Angela Merkel was first voted chancellor 12 years ago, political power in the hands of Germany’s first physicist-turned-politician has always looked more like a solid than a liquid.

“Power is the ability to shape things,” the chancellor said at the Christian Democrats’ headquarters on Monday afternoon, having just reminded assembled journalists that in spite of its worst election result since 1949, her party would still be the most powerful group in the next Bundestag. “And I like shaping things,” she added.

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