Germany's Merkel on crutches after knee op

1st April 2011, Comments 0 comments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's gait is set to match her limping current political fortunes for a few days after a knee operation announced by her office on Friday left her on crutches.

A torn meniscus inside the 56-year-old leader's left knee meant she had to have an operation in a Berlin hospital on Thursday which was "successful," her spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters at a regular government briefing.

"She will work from home today (Friday) while she recovers and will need a walking aid, in other words crutches, for the next few days," Seibert said. A planned walkabout at a trade fair in Hanover on Monday has been cancelled.

On Sunday, voters in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg dumped Merkel's conservatives out of office after 58 years in charge in the most important of seven local elections this year.

Voters appeared to punish Merkel for her decision in March to suspend for three months an earlier decision to extend the lifetimes of Germany's nuclear power stations in reaction to the crisis at Japan's Fukushima plant.

Her hapless coalition partners at federal level since winning a second term in September 2009, the Free Democrats (FDP) are meanwhile under severe strain with pressure growing for party leader Guido Westerwelle to quit.

© 2011 AFP

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