GERMAN chancellor Angela Merkel may be forced to cede her power earlier than expected after episodes of violent and controllable shaking in public has led party officials to fear for her health.
Merkel, 64, was seen trembling as she as she stood for the national anthem with Finnish PM Antti Rinne in Berlin on Wednesday – the third time in the past month.
And on Thursday, Merkel tweaked diplomatic protocol by opting to sit rather than stand at a welcome for Denmark’s premier in Berlin.
The Christian Democrat leader has said she will stand down by the 2021 election but growing fears for her health have stirred debate among party colleagues over whether she should go earlier.
Merkel gave up the CDU chair to Kramp-Karrenbauer in December last year- a move widely seen as the beginning of a handover of power.
One member of the CDU executive committee said: “The tremors are fuelling the CDU internal debate about whether the schedule agreed between Merkel and Kramp-Karrenbauer on not changing the guard until 2021 can hold”.
Kramp-Karrenbauer, who has made a series of gaffes since taking up the CDU position, has seen her popularity slide in recent weeks.
The tremors are fuelling the CDU internal debate about whether the schedule agreed between Merkel and Kramp-Karrenbauer on not changing the guard until 2021 can hold”.
CDU executive committee member
However, sources in Merkel’s conservative camp said neither she nor Kramp-Karrenbauer wanted leave earlier than 2021. If Merkel were to stand down early, that would likely prompt new elections.
Conservative sources revealed that the only real threat to a 2021 handover is the possibility that the CDU’s coalition partner, the Social Democrats, could quit the alliance after autumn elections in three eastern states at which the SPD is set to suffer losses.
‘I LOOK AFTER MY HEALTH’
Merkel has responded to the health concerns by insisting she is fine but her office has given no explanation for the repeated shaking.
She told a news conference on Thursday: “I am aware of the responsibility of my office.
“I behave appropriately as far as my health is concerned … I look after my health.”
The former head of Germany’s intelligence service, Hans-Georg Maassen, said the public should be told if their leader is in poor health.
He tweeted: “The state of a political leader’s health is not a private matter.
“The people in Germany have a right to know whether their leader is still physically in a position to fulfil her office with all her strength.”
Merkel has looked unsteady at official engagements over the past month.
On June 27 she gripped her trembling arms and pursed her lips at a ceremony in Berlin – nine days after footage emerged of her shaking for a whole minute.
On previous occasions she has blamed her unsteadiness on overheating or dehydration.
But the temperature in Berlin today only reached a mild 18C.
Mrs Merkel was spotted shaking as she stood alongside President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at an indoor event where Germany’s new justice minister was formally appointed.
She seemed to grimace as she clutched her arms, apparently in an effort to hide the shakes.
Mrs Merkel, 64, was handed a glass of water but rejected it, and appeared fine when she arrived in parliament half an hour later.
Her spokesman later said she was OK and would attend the G20 summit in Japan.
He said: “Everything is taking place as planned. The chancellor is well.”
Aides blamed dehydration for her last bout of shakes and dismissed health worries – but the fresh video today is likely to renew speculation over her future as leader.
Mrs Merkel – the most powerful woman in the world – is Europe’s most influential politician and is expected to play a pivotal role in Brexit negotiations with Britain’s next PM.
On June 18, Mrs Merkel’s whole body shook as she stood outside in 28C weather alongside Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky.
The chancellor said at a news conference 90 minutes later: “Since then I’ve drunk at least three glasses of water, which I apparently needed, and now I’m doing very well.”
Mr Zelensky, 41, said he would have come to her rescue if necessary, insisting her health is not a matter of concern.
Reports in Germany say she has been seen shaking before, especially in the sun.
In 2014, she postponed a TV interview at the last minute because she felt weak.
How dehydration can cause muscle shaking
Muscle shaking or tremors are when you’re not able to control a part of your body from trembling.
It’s normal to have a slight tremor if your hands or arms are stretched out in front of you.
Sometimes it can become more noticeable as you get older, feel stressed, tired, anxious, angry, after drinking caffeine or if you’re very hot or cold.
But muscle shaking could also be an early sign of dehydration.
Dehydration happens when you don’t drink enough water or you lose too much water quickly from excessive urination, diarrhoea or blood loss.
That leads to loss of electrolytes such as potassium and sodium, which are salts of the body needed for normal muscle control and nerve function.
Dehydration can also cause muscle cramping, irregular heartbeat, fatigue and reduced brain function.
It can happen more easily if you have:
- vomiting or diarrhoea
- been in the sun too long
- drunk too much alcohol
- sweated too much after exercising
- a temperature of 38C or more
- been taking medicines that make you pee more
Involuntary shaking is also a sign of Parkinson’s disease, in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years.
If you have a tremor that has become severe or is affecting your life, see your GP.
You may be offered medicine to help reduce the shaking or trembling.
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Merkel has been chancellor since 2005, and presided over Germany’s powerhouse economy that has propped up the Eurozone through a series of crises.
But in October she was forced to stand down as leader of her Christian Democrat party after disastrous local elections.
She has vowed to stay on as chancellor – the equivalent of PM – until 2021.
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