Germany's Merkel sits for anthems after shaking episodes

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen gave a joint news conference

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen gave a joint news conference

Angela Merkel sat through national anthems on Thursday during an official ceremony, as the German chancellor sought to prevent a repeat of uncontrollable shaking with a rare change of protocol.

Merkel, 64, sat alongside new Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen while the national anthems of both countries played during a military honors ceremony outside the chancellery in Berlin. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she knows she must look after her health, offering reassurance on Thursday after three bouts of shaking on previous public occasions raised questions about her condition.

Merkel told reporters following the episode that she was "fine" and suggested that the psychological impact of the first incident was responsible for the subsequent episodes.

Although Merkel insisted "I am fine" on Wednesday, concern about her wellbeing is stoking discussion in the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) about when she should hand over power to her protege, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

The recent string of incidents has prompted some concern in German media - relatively mild by many other countries' standards, but somewhat unusual for Germany - about Merkel's health but isn't dominating news coverage in the country. Merkel also has shown no signs of shaking or unsteadiness while standing and talking in parliament or, as at Thursday's news conference, behind a lectern.

Merkel, in office since 2005, has said she will not run again in elections at the end of this parliamentary term, due in 2021. "I said that I have to process this event and that I am in this process, and I think that just as it came, it will go away one day".

Nevertheless, leading Bavarian GP Jakob Berger stated that the chancellor should undergo urgent health checks: "Her doctors must now press for some research".

The shaking on Wednesday was visible although less severe than during the first episode in June. It looks quite dramatic.

Asked what her upcoming 65th birthday means to her, a smiling Merkel said that "it means you're not getting younger, but perhaps more experienced". In 1998, she was quoted as saying: "I don't want to be a half-dead wreck when I leave politics".

The chancellor has a reputation for stamina garnered in years of late-night domestic and European negotiating marathons.

In the United States, portions of the results of the president's annual medical examination are traditionally made public, but in Germany, political leaders are generally expected to enjoy more privacy around their health. This is a stark contrast to her predecessor Gerhard Schroeder - who faced questions in office about his marriage and whether he dyed his hair.

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