Germany’s Angela Merkel will head to France on Friday, the first foreign trip of her fourth term as chancellor, to discuss bilateral, European and international topics with French President Emmanuel Macron.
German lawmakers voted on Wednesday to re-elect Angela Merkel as chancellor for a fourth, and likely final, term that may prove her most challenging yet as she leads a fragile coalition with her standing diminished.
Lawmakers voted by 364 to 315, with nine abstentions, in favour of re-electing Merkel, 63.
In office since 2005, Merkel has dominated Germany’s political landscape and steered the European Union through economic crisis.
But her authority was dented by her decision in 2015 to commit Germany to an open-door policy on refugees, resulting in an influx of more than one million people that laid bare deep divisions within the EU over migration and fueled the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
Merkel’s new coalition contains the same parties as her last government — her Christian Democratic Union, its Bavaria-only sister party, the Christian Social Union and the center-left Social Democrats — but building the new administration has been unprecedentedly difficult after all three lost significant support in September.
Merkel was able to take office only after two-thirds of the Social Democrats’ members approved in a ballot the coalition deal clinched last month. With all the coalition parties keen to send signals of renewal, she leads a much-changed Cabinet, where the former east-German Lands are underrepresented.