March 19, 2018

Angela Merkel begins fourth term as German Chancellor

14 March 2018, 11:54 | Devin Moran

After record delay, German leader says 'time to start work'

Germany's new grand coalition ends 'time of uncertainty'

Merkel said she and her finance minister-designate, Olaf Scholz, would visit France after being sworn in, and "we will be able to say more than we could in December" at an European Union summit later this month.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, bruised by half a year of post-election coalition haggling, was on Wednesday elected by parliament to her fourth and likely final term at the helm of Europe's biggest economy. The parliamentary lower house voted in favour of her 364-315 - paving the way for Merkel's fourth term at the helm. The Social Democrats agreed to join the government only after lengthy internal wrangling.

Ms Merkel is to be formally appointed by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier before taking the oath of office later this morning. 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. She has also stressed the necessity of securing Germany's borders, and developing policies to mitigate the causes of migration.

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.

"I am optimistic that we'll manage it", Merkel said. "It shows that the grand coalition is actually going to be a small coalition".

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