Merkel comfortably re-elected as party leader

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel was comfortably re-elected as head of the ruling conservatives on Monday with 90.4 percent of the vote, down slightly however from 94.8 percent scored last time.

"I will continue with joy as head of this great party," Merkel, chancellor since 2005 and party leader since 2000, told the conference of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Karlsruhe, southwest Germany.

The 56-year-old faces a tough year in 2011, when six of Germany's 16 states hold elections, and if the party fares badly Merkel's position will start to look shaky, experts believe.

© 2010 AFP

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