March 23, 2018

German lawmakers elect Merkel to fourth term as chancellor

14 March 2018, 11:49 | Taylor George

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

Germany's new grand coalition "didn't start off as a marriage of love" but marks the end of a period of political uncertainty, interim leader of the Social Democrats Olaf Scholz said Monday, as the coalition parties ready to sign an agreement.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been elected by parliament to her fourth term in office. Since October 24, 2017 she and her Cabinet continue as the acting government until a new government is formed. Earlier on Tuesday, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel condemned a nerve agent attack in England on a former spy that the British government has blamed on Russian Federation, and said the perpetrators must be held accountable. Following a disastrous election result that came after four years as Merkel's junior coalition partner, the Social Democrats agreed to join the new government only after lengthy internal wrangling. The parliamentary lower house voted in favour of her 364-315 - paving the way for Merkel's fourth term at the helm.

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The grand coalition was initially seen as an unlikely constellation after the election on 24 September, when Merkel's conservative alliance, the pro-business FDP and the environmentalist Greens strove to create a so-called "Jamaica" coalition. "If these unilateral actions can't be avoided, we will have to consider how we can answer that, but I am counting on talks, and there will be many opportunities for that".

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