German lawmakers elect Merkel to fourth term as chancellor

2018 Ferdinand Ostrop  AP      
                                               Stefan Meister

2018 Ferdinand Ostrop AP Stefan Meister

Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, its Bavaria-only sister party the Christian Social Union, and the center-left Social Democrats signed their coalition agreement Monday.

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.

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's spokesman Steffen Seibert said the German leader had condemned the attack and assured May in a telephone call that she was taking the British government's views on possible Russian involvement in the attack extremely seriously.

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Merkel was re-elected by 364 votes in Germany's lower house, or Bundestag, with 315 votes against and nine abstentions.

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.

Merkel's Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats, who have agreed to reenter a grand coalition together, have a total of 399 votes between them. "I think we all feel that it's finally time to start work", Merkel said.

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