Bundestag Reelects Merkel as Chancellor
Albanian Daily News
Published March 15, 2018
German Chancellor and head of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Angela Merkel | Steffi Loos/Getty ImagesAngela Merkel received the final rubber stamp to lead her fourth government on Wednesday with Germany's lower house of parliament officially electing her chancellor.
Among the 692 MPs to vote in a secret ballot at the Bundestag, 364 voted in favor of another term for the 63-year-old Christian Democrats (CDU) leader and 315 voted against (nine abstained and four votes were invalid). With only nine votes above the needed majority -- which lies at 355 votes -- Merkel's victory is her narrowest since she first took office in 2005.
"Clear election, smooth start. Now with all strength for Germany!" Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the CDU's general secretary and a close Merkel ally, wrote on Twitter.
Merkel's reelection and the official swearing in of her Cabinet on Wednesday clear the way for the new grand coalition -- comprised of Merkel's center-right CDU, its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union and the Social Democrats -- to start governing, six months after September's federal election.
Given the tumultuous coalition-building phase -- the longest in Germany's post-war history -- Merkel's new government will only have three-and-a-half years to push through its program.
"There were more opposition votes than I expected," Andrea Nahles, leader of the SPD's parliamentary faction, told German newspaper WELT, adding that there was no use in speculating which MPs voted against Merkel, given it was a secret ballot.
"The high number of dissenters at Merkel's chancellor election unmasks the enormous centrifugal forces within the GroKo," Christian Lindner, whose liberal Free Democrats pulled out of coalition talks with Merkel's conservatives shortly after September's election, tweeted.
Thomas Opperman, vice president of the German Bundestag and a member of the SPD, said "the government majority stands" but "does not amount to a grand coalition."