Angela Merkel sworn in for fourth term as German chancellor

Angela Merkel takes the oath with Bundestag president Wolfgang SchaeubleImage copyright
AFP

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Angela Merkel takes the oath with Bundestag president Wolfgang Schaeuble

Angela Merkel has been sworn in for a fourth term as German chancellor, after months of political wrangling that left her weakened.

Germany’s parliament earlier approved her re-election by 364 votes to 315.

Mrs Merkel has vowed to get to work quickly after the longest period of coalition-building in post-war Germany.

It is nearly six months since the election. Mrs Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU bloc had its worst result in almost 70 years.

But she finally secured a coalition deal with the Social Democrats (SPD) earlier this month following a painful stretch of political deadlock.

It cost her several key posts – including finance and foreign minister – in Germany’s new cabinet.

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After parliament confirmed Mrs Merkel’s reappointment on Wednesday, she told MPs: “I accept the vote.”

Her scientist husband, Joachim Sauer, and her 89-year-old mother Herlind Kasner were among the well-wishers in the Bundestag’s lower house.

But analysts said the vote was a humbling start as only 364 MPs backed her appointment, when her conservative bloc and the SPDs have 399.

Mrs Merkel was formally appointed by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier before taking the oath of office.

Mainstream parties suffered in September’s election amid a surge by right-wing populists.

The anti-immigrant party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), entered the federal parliament for the first time with just over 12% of the vote, and now makes up the largest opposition group.

Fresh start for Germany or reverting to type?

Analysis by the BBC’s Jenny Hill in Berlin

There were flowers, smiles, congratulations for Angela Merkel in the German parliament. There was also a sense of relief. After all it is the end of nearly six months of almost unprecedented political turmoil for Germany.

But Mrs Merkel’s struggles to form a coalition government have kept her from international affairs and damaged her standing at home. Many here wonder – despite her protests to the contrary – whether she’ll serve the full fourth term.

There is limited public enthusiasm for the revived grand coalition. In her choice of cabinet, Mrs Merkel hopes to rejuvenate her government, inspire voters with at least a semblance of a fresh start. But critics argue that there is nothing truly novel about its plans.

So perhaps it’s telling that Mrs Merkel kicks off her new term with a trip to Paris on Friday. Among the global allies most eagerly anticipating her return to the world stage is, of course, Emmanuel Macron who needs her support for plans to reform the EU.

Mrs Merkel – who shares that aim – is reverting to type.

Angela Merkel sworn in for fourth term as German chancellor

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