BERLIN - Angela Merkel, an unflappable pastor's daughter, cemented her title as the world's most powerful woman Sunday, triumphantly romping home to a third term as German chancellor.
Her position going into the election had already been so strong that she often seemed to transcend politics, simply ignoring her opponent Peer Steinbrueck along the way.
But her historic victory in Sunday's vote was a personal triumph, bringing home the conservatives' top score since reunification in 1990 and nearly capturing an absolute majority.
She becomes only the third post-war chancellor to secure a third term, alongside fellow conservatives Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl, the father of national unity.
This month a giant billboard went up at Berlin's main train station featuring only a picture of the 59-year-old chancellor's hands folded in her trademark diamond-shape gesture.
Quite simply, the mighty Merkel was the message.
After eight years at the helm of the top European economy, and three as the go-to leader in the eurozone crisis, Merkel was rewarded for navigating the country through the turmoil and leaving it stronger than before.