On the international stage, she's seen as decisive and principled, especially when it concerns austerity measures in Europe. Domestically, however, Germany's chancellor is known for a wait-and-see approach to politics. Her political position on major debates, like gay marriage, is deemed as deliberately vague.
Merkel's propensity to hesitate before reacting publicly is seen by some as measured and methodical, an approach that speaks to her scientific training. Others consider her a pragmatist who adjusts her principles according to the political mood.