Whilst Merkel busies herself with the business of being the second most powerful person
in the world, her erstwhile rival to the Chancellorship is lurking under a cloud of black publicity. Peer Steinbrück of the Social Democrats has managed to alienate members of his own party with his latest gaffes.
Hoping to take on the mantle of Chancellor this year, Steinbrück, who the FT
quoted as saying money “does not provoke erotic feelings in me,” has started to pave the way for a salary increase if he manages to oust Merkel.
He said: "The chancellor earns too little in Germany given the performance that she or he must demonstrate compared to other positions with far less responsibility and much greater salaries." Merkel earns €250,000 plus expense perks, whilst imposing austerity on others.
Steinbrück stuck his foot in it still further by claiming Merkel's gender gave her a bonus in the elections, ignoring the fact she often earns the moniker of Herr Merkel
According to Der Spiegel
Steinbrück's comments have brought him criticism, not least because the current chancellor does not make complaints about her salary. However, if her rival succeeds, the monetary award will be a come down from the €1.65 million he has earned over the last three years as a guest speaker, according to the New York Times
Although Merkel remains an unpopular figure in the Mediterranean countries she is exceedingly popular at home, making Steinbrück's comments about her gender advantage seem petty.