Sunday, 24 June, 2018

Angela Merkel elected for fourth term as German chancellor

Merkel says she will visit Macron to discuss EU reform Merkel says she will visit Macron to discuss EU reform
Ellis Copeland | 14 March, 2018, 16:29

Germany's parliament on Wednesday voted in Angela Merkel to a fourth term as the country's chancellor, heading a "grand coalition" of conservative and center-left parties.

Members of Germany's Bundestag voted 364 in favor, 315 opposed and nine abstentions.

"I accept the vote", a beaming Merkel, 63, told lawmakers before being sworn in by Bundestag President Wolfgang Schaeuble.

She has argued that the European Union must increasingly look after its own interests in the era of US President Donald Trump, who has questioned long-standing trans-Atlantic defense ties and threatened a trade war. Later in the day, the new government ministers are also expected to be sworn in before the cabinet meets for the first time this afternoon.

The conservative bloc only turned to the SPD to prolong the "grand coalition" that has governed Germany since 2013 out of desperation, after talks on a three-way alliance with two smaller parties collapsed last November.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been forced into an alliance with the centre-left Social Democrats. 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.

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His new interior super-ministry also covers "Heimat" or homeland affairs, a term much derided for evoking Alpine vistas, beer and bratwurst but meant to recapture claims to patriotism from the AfD.

Merkel was able to take office only after two-thirds of the Social Democrats' members approved in a ballot the coalition deal clinched last month. The Social Democrats initially planned to go into opposition.

Known to many as "Mummy Merkel", she is seen by supporters as a beacon of stability and compromise whose pragmatic policies have helped consolidate Germany's economic growth.

The vote came 171 days after the federal elections, the longest time span in post-war Germany.

AfD politicians have campaigned strongly against Merkel and her policies.

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