Angela Merkel was born in Hamburg, in West Germany, in 1954, but grew up in a small town in East Germany 60 miles from Berlin. She was an excellent student at school – although she did not like PE – and became a scientist after university. She entered politics in 1990, and in 2000 she was elected head of the CDU, making her the first female leader of a German party. She has been German chancellor since 2005, when the CDU won the general election. Many people call her mutti, which means “mummy”, because she looks after the country. She likes to bake and is said to make a very good plum cake.