German parliament meets to elect Merkel for 4th term

German parliament meets to elect Merkel for 4th term

Merkel, bruised by half a year of post-election coalition haggling, was narrowly confirmed by Parliament today to her fourth and likely final term at the helm of Europe's biggest economy.

The result was Merkel's tightest ever: 35 fewer votes for her than grand coalition seats - and just nine votes beyond the absolute or "chancellor" majority. That significantly complicated the task of forming another governing coalition.

The European Union will try to secure an exemption from planned US steel and aluminium tariffs, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday, adding that protectionism is not the right approach to global trade.

Ministers will then 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 (AfD).

"There were more dissenting votes than I would have expected", said Andrea Nahles, Bundestag leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), back in as junior partner.

NAIJ.com gathered that in all, 364 members of the Bundestag voted for Merkel, while 315 voted against her.

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

"There has been a lot of criticism of her, but people have time and again underestimated Merkel and predicted her imminent demise".

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"We have a lot of work ahead of us", Merkel said after the formal signing of the coalition deal with the SPD on Monday.

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 argued that the European Union must increasingly look after its own interests in the era of US President Donald Trump, who has questioned long-standing transatlantic defense ties and threatened a trade war.

While including new faces, Merkel's pick of cabinet members includes longtime allies from her Christian Democratic Union.

Responding to criticism within her ranks, the fourth Merkel cabinet is younger and nearly evenly split between men and women.

The reformation of grand coalition means the far-right Alternative für Deutschland becomes the large opposition party in the Bundestag.

Merkel has been widely described as the de facto leader of the European Union, the most powerful woman in the world, and the leader of the Free World.

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