Germans consider Merkel's health private

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 15.07.2019 00:07

Most Germans believe Angela Merkel's health is a private matter, a poll showed on Saturday, after the chancellor suffered the latest in a series of shaking episodes this week that have raised questions about whether she should give an explanation.

Merkel, who turns 65 this week, shook visibly at a welcoming ceremony for Finland's prime minister on Wednesday, the third such episode in as many weeks. On Thursday, she broke with protocol and sat at a similar welcome for Denmark's premier. The episodes have concerned many Germans and fired up a debate among some of the chancellor's Christian Democrats about whether she should pass power to her protégé sooner than a planned handover in 2021.

Yet the survey of 4,495 representative voters, which pollster Civey conducted on Thursday and Friday for the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper, showed a majority, 59%, believed Merkel's health was her own business.

The chancellor has no history of serious health issues. After the first shaking episode, when she met visiting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on June 18, Merkel said she felt better after drinking some water. She was also seen shaking on June 27 when she met German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier but her spokesman said she was fine and she later went ahead with her planned trip to Japan for a G20 summit. A government official told Reuters that was more a psychological issue as she tried desperately to avoid a repeat. After her Japan trip, Merkel went straight into three days of tortuous talks in Brussels to decide on a new group of nominees for top European Union jobs, a package that has strained her coalition government.

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