BERLIN Jan 15 A German government spokesman
denied market rumours on Friday that German Chancellor Angela
Merkel was to resign.
"Rumours about Merkel's resignation are just pulled out of
thin air," government spokesman Christoph Steegmans said when
asked about the rumours, which had hit the euro on Asian
It was unclear where the rumours originated and Steegmans
said he was baffled by them.
The rumours followed the publication of a Time magazine
article about Merkel's domestic political problems. The market
had already been unsettled by fears about the impact on the euro
of the Greek budgetary crisis.
Persistent squabbling within Merkel's centre-right coalition
on issues including tax cuts, Afghanistan and health policy have
marred the start of her second term.
Some members of her own Christian Democrats (CDU) accused
her this week of failing to show enough leadership
But her position within her party and in the government has
been unchallenged since she was re-elected with a clear majority
on Sept. 27.
She is widely credited with steering Europe's biggest
economy through the global financial crisis.
A poll last week by ARD television showed support for Merkel
had fallen by 11 percentage points from December to 59 percent,
her lowest personal approval ratings since the end of 2006.
(Reporting by Angelika Stricker; Writing by Madeline