- German Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing the most important vote of her life
- Merkel gains political capital within her party before next year's federal election
Atika Shubert is a CNN senior international correspondent based in Berlin.
Berlin (CNN)German Chancellor Angela Merkel is not one for rabble-rousing. In 11 years as the leader of Germany, her speeches are usually sobering analyses of thorny political and economic dilemmas, using only her signature diamond-shaped hand gesture to punctuate her points.