Angela Merkel begins fourth term as German Chancellor

Angela Merkel begins fourth term as German Chancellor

Germany has been locked in political uncertainty for nearly six months after millions of voters abandoned the two main parties.

The SPD last week voted in favor of another grand coalition with Angela Merkel's center-right alliance - which includes her Christian Democrats (CDU) and her Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) - clearing the way for a new government to take office and putting an end to months of political instability.

Chancellor Angela Merkel says "it's finally time to start work" as Germany's new government prepares to take office almost six months after the country's election.

Merkel will head a much-changed new Cabinet. Those include USA tariffs on foreign-made steel and aluminum announced by President Donald Trump, along with threats of taxes on German automakers. Merkel said on Monday her new government's focus would be on integrating refugees as well as increasing state powers to extradite people who had no right of residence.


"I accept the vote", Merkel told the Bundestag lower house of parliament after the vote.

Wolfgang Kubicki, deputy leader of the pro-business Free Democrats, said of the result of Wednesday vote: "That was closer than we expected". In Europe, French President Emmanuel Macron has been awaiting a German response to his calls for an ambitious European Union reform agenda.

She received 364 out of 709 votes in the first round of voting - 11 more than required to gain an absolute majority, but also 35 fewer than if all the members of her next governing coalition had cast their ballot in her favour.

AÂ so-called grand coalition has ruled Germany since 2013, but when all three parties lost support in September's general election, the SPD initially said it would go into opposition and regroup.

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