Angela Merkel sworn in for fourth term as German chancellor

16 March, 2018, 01:19 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Angela Merkel waves as the Bundestag meets to elect her for a fourth term as chancellor of Germany

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Wednesday congratulated Angela Merkel after she was re-elected as German chancellor for a fourth term. The 709 members German Parliament on Wednesday voted 364-315 in a secret ballot in favour of Merkel who required 355 votes.

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

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The Chancellor beamed happily as applause filled the Bundestag chamber, where her scientist husband Joachim Sauer and her 89-year-old mother Herlind Kasner were among the well-wishers. In a short speech before that ceremony, the German President praised the new government as good for Germany and Europe.

The rise of populist fringe parties is also the central domestic threat for Merkel's new coalition, which faces the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) as the biggest opposition party.

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Last week party leaders of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) announced that party members had endorsed a deal to form a new governing coalition with Merkel's center-right Christian Democrats.

Merkel's spokesman said she would head to France on Friday to discuss bilateral, European and worldwide topics with President Emmanuel Macron. Merkel, who will lead the country for the fourth consecutive term, has to take a formal oath in front of federal president Frank-Walter Steinmeier later in the day.

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Ministers were to be sworn in later in the day - nearly six months after last September's national election in which both coalition partners lost support to the far-right Alternative for Germany. Wednesday's parliamentary vote comes 171 days - almost double the previous record - after September's election, in which they all lost significant ground. She added that "we may be faced with new challenges: we had not, for instance, envisioned the latest developments on trade in the coalition agreement and we will have to answer them too". At first, the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) refused to join her conservative bloc in government, and then talks with the liberals and Greens collapsed. "This coalition has got off to a bad start and will not last for three and-a-half years", Alexander Mitsch, of Merkel's Christian Democrat party, said.

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