Angela Merkel 2000: This is the year when she took over the leadership of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party. In February, Wolfgang Schäuble had to resign as CDU leader because of his involvement in a major party donations scandal involving former Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Merkel -- the general secretary of the CDU at the time -- wasn't tainted by the scandal. She was voted as the CDU's first ever female leader on April 10, 2000. This photo shows her a month later, at a regional party conference in Lower Saxony.