Merkel's party gives her new term at its helm, showcases German leader's strength

Chancellor Angela Merkel's party has elected her resoundingly to a new two-year term as its leader, underlining her strength as she boasted about balancing Germany's budget for the first time in 46 years.

The conservative Christian Democratic Union said 96.7 percent of delegates at a convention voted Tuesday for Merkel as chairwoman. The 60-year-old Merkel, who has no serious rivals or evident successor, ran unopposed.

Merkel highlighted the strength of the economy in her conference speech and said the most remarkable achievement was next year's budget, under which Germany plans to get by without new borrowing for the first time since 1969.

Merkel said: "The state has lived above its means for decades and we are putting an end to that now. That is a historic achievement."