Germany: Women, immigrants on the rise in Merkel's conservative makeover

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Germany: Women, immigrants on the rise in Merkel's conservative makeover

Aygul Ozkan, the daughter of a Turkish tailor, is the new face of Germany's ruling conservatives.

Her election to the leadership board of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) represents a facelift for a party that has for decades been dominated by white, Christian, predominantly male politicians.

Ozkan, 42, minister of social affairs in Lower Saxony state, is a rising star in a party which, under Angela Merkel, is bent on rejuvenating an image that is as stodgy as the meat, noodles and potatoes served at its party congress in Hanover.

"Something is happening and it is wonderful. It is a sign of normality," Ozkan told Reuters. She is one of four young politicians with an immigrant background who were elected to the 26-seat CDU board this week.

Merkel, the 58-year-old German chancellor who will fight for a third term in an election next September, is dragging a reluctant CDU into the 21st century - and may overtake some of her traditionally more progressive rivals on the way.

Read more at Reuters, published 5 December 2012.

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