|German Chancellor Angela Merkel reacts after elected during the meeting of Bundestag, lower house of parliament, in Berlin, Germany, on Dec. 17, 2013. Germany's Angela Merkel was formally elected chancellor for a third term on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Zhang Fan)
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BERLIN, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Chancellor Angela Merkel was reelected in a vote in the lower house of parliament on Tuesday for a third term, and is set to become the EU's longest-serving female head of government.
The following is a profile of Merkel.
Born in Hamburg in July 1954 as daughter of a Protestant priest, Merkel moved with her family to the small East German town of Templin a few weeks after her birth. She earned a doctorate in physics at the University of Leipzig.
Before entering politics, she worked and studied at the Central Institute for East Germany's Physical Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences from 1978 to 1990.
In November 1989, Merkel joined the opposition Democratic Awakening movement. In 1990, she briefly served as the deputy spokeswoman for the government of conservative Lothar de Maiziere, the last prime minister of East Germany before unification.
In August 1990, Merkel joined Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party and was later elected to the federal parliament of the reunified Germany.
She became minister for women and youth in 1991 and minister for environment, nature conservation and nuclear safety in 1994.
Merkel was secretary general of the CDU from 1998 to 2000, and was elected chairperson in 2000. From 2002 to 2005, she was also chair of the CDU and the Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU) parliamentary coalition.
She beat Social Democrats (SPD) chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in 2005 and became Germany's first female chancellor, chairing a grand coalition with the center-left SPD.
After her second victory in 2009, she was able to form a coalition government with the pro-business Free Democrats. She is considered as the most influential leader in Europe and one of the most powerful leaders in the world. Her party re-elected her as chairwoman last year with a resounding 98 percent.
Merkel is arguably the most popular politician in Germany, as a recent opinion poll issued for public TV station ZDF during the election campaign showed that 60 percent of respondents preferred Merkel as their chancellor. Forbes magazine has repeatedly named her the world's most powerful woman.
Merkel's domestic popularity owes much to sticking to principles in dealing with the eurozone debt crisis, including pressing indebted eurozone members to carry out austerity measures and reforms. Gravity-defying German economic performance during the crisis also helped to boost support for the Merkel administration.
Merkel, 59, is married to chemistry professor Joachim Sauer and has no child.
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