As a Protestant east German woman Angela Merkel, 51, broke the leadership mould in the CDU, traditionally dominated by Catholic west German men. She wants fundamental reforms to pull Germany's economy out of the doldrums - especially reducing staff costs and red tape for employers and raising sales tax.
Observers say she will need all her reputed toughness to push them through while holding a potentially fractious "grand coalition" with the Social Democrats together.
I hope Germany will not provide Europe a second Iron Lady. But for now she has got the benefit of my doubt. Go Angie! Make that economy rock!