17.05.2012 | REUTERS

Special Report: Don't call him Mr. Merkel

BERLIN (Reuters) - Political spouses sometimes provide a spot of glamour. Then there is Joachim Sauer, a professor of theoretical chemistry.

Sauer is the husband of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, arguably the world's most powerful woman. He never speaks to the media and only rarely appears in public with his wife. He skipped her inauguration in 2005, drawing media wrath for watching the event on TV at his Berlin university. A German newspaper once said he was as "invisible as a molecule." His surname means "angry" or "sour." (…)

Sauer's low profile means he can live free from bodyguards and journalists, both at his office and at home in the couple's modest flat, just a few blocks east of where the Wall stood.

He has earned the respect of some in the German press for consistently refusing to open up.

"We had an expectation that if we kept at it, he would, sooner or later," said political columnist Hugo Mueller-Vogg of mass-circulation German daily Bild. "But he stuck to his principles throughout, and there's something about that you have to admire."

After Mueller-Vogg attacked Sauer for missing Merkel's inauguration, the Chancellor responded in person. "She told me that I shouldn't worry about her husband, because he would accompany her to all events when his absence might cause a diplomatic incident," said Mueller-Vogg. "And he has."

Quelle: REUTERS, May 15, 2012