Angela Dorothea Merkel ( Kasner; born 17 July 1954) is a German politician and former research scientist. Merkel has been the Chancellor of Germany since 2005, and the leader of the Christian Democratic Union since 2000. Having earned a doctorate as a physical chemist, Merkel entered politics in the wake of the Revolutions of 1989, briefly serving as a deputy spokesperson for the first democratically-elected East German Government in 1990. Following German reunification in 1990, Merkel was elected to the Bundestag for Stralsund-Nordvorpommern-Rügen in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, a seat she has held ever since. Merkel was later appointed as the Minister for Women and Youth in 1991 under Chancellor Helmut Kohl, later becoming the Minister for the Environment in 1994. After Kohl was defeated in 1998, Merkel was elected Secretary-General of the CDU before becoming the party’s first woman leader two years later in the aftermath of a donations scandal that toppled Wolfgang Schäuble. Following the 2005 federal election, Merkel was appointed Germany’s first woman Chancellor at the head of a grand coalition consisting of the CDU, its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). In the 2009 federal election, the CDU obtained the largest share of the vote and Merkel was able to form a coalition government with the support of the Free Democratic Party . At the 2013 federal election, Merkel won a landslide victory with 41.5% of the vote, falling just short of an overall majority, and formed a second grand coalition with the SPD, after the FDP lost all of its representation in the Bundestag. In 2007, Merkel was President of the European Council and chaired the G8, the second woman to do so. Merkel played a central role in the negotiation of the Treaty of Lisbon and the Berlin Declaration. One of Merkel’s priorities was also to strengthen transatlantic economic relations by signing the agreement for the Transatlantic Economic Council on 30 April 2007. It has been said that Merkel played a crucial role in managing the financial crisis at the European and international level, and has been referred to as „the decider. ” In domestic policy, health care reform and problems concerning future energy development have been major issues during her Chancellorship, and more recently her government’s approach to the ongoing refugee crisis. Merkel has been described as the de facto leader of the European Union. Merkel appeared on the Forbes Magazine’s List of The World’s Most Powerful People as the world’s second most powerful person, selected by Forbes magazine in 2012 and 2015. In December 2015, Merkel was named as Time magazine’s Person of the Year, with the magazine’s cover declaring her to be the „Chancellor of the Free World. ” On 26 March 2014, Merkel became the longest-serving incumbent head of government in the European Union. Merkel is currently the Senior G7 leader. In May 2015, Merkel was named the most powerful woman in the world for a record ninth time by Forbes.