Friday, 20 July, 2018

Merkel re-elected as chancellor by German parliament to fourth term

Merkel re-elected as chancellor by German parliament to fourth term Merkel re-elected as chancellor by German parliament to fourth term
Melinda Barton | 14 March, 2018, 16:29

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is starting her fourth term with a much-changed top team in which only three ministers in the new 16-member Cabinet keep their old jobs.

The deadlock was the longest Germany has seen since World War II.

Her likely final term may prove her most challenging yet as she takes charge of a fragile coalition with her personal standing diminished. The coalition enjoys only a small majority in the German Bundestag and has come under fire from both sides of the political spectrum.

Germany's new chief diplomat is a newcomer to foreign policy, but as justice minister was a high-profile figure in Merkel's outgoing government.

The leadership of the SPD had initially ruled out joining Merkel in the government in the wake of historically disappointing results at federal elections in September previous year.

Merkel, 63, was backed by a majority of 364 lawmakers in the 709-member lower house on the strength of a coalition deal between her Christian Democratic-led bloc and the Social Democrats, renewing the governing alliance of Germany's two biggest parties.

Merkel will travel to Paris Friday for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on the first trip overseas of her new term.

Merkel will head a coalition of her conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD).

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May agreed on Tuesday that allies should act together to counter "the pattern of aggressive Russian behaviour" after the poisoning of a former Russian double agent in England.

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said as he formally appointed Merkel's new Cabinet: "It is good that the time of uncertainty is over". That significantly complicated the task of forming another governing coalition. The coalition of her conservative Christian Democratic Union, its Bavaria-only sister party, the Christian Social Union and the center-left Social Democrats has 399 seats.

She has also stressed the necessity of securing Germany's borders, and developing policies to mitigate the causes of migration.