German lawmakers have officially elected Chancellor Angela Merkel to continue leading the country for a fourth term after months of grueling coalition talks that left the country in limbo following elections in September. "Many hope we in Germany will show that liberal democracies are capable of acting and facing the future".
The vote ended nearly six months of political uncertainty after the last year's German federal election saw voters desert the two mainstream parties - Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD), turning instead to parties on the left and right, the CNN reported. 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.
From 1600 GMT, Merkel sits down with her new cabinet, in which the SPD has wrested both the trophy posts of finance and foreign affairs to the dismay of a growing band of critics within her Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
"I accept the vote", a beaming Merkel, 63, told lawmakers before being sworn in by Bundestag President Wolfgang Schaeuble. There were nine abstentions.
Outgoing Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, a fellow Social Democrat who over the past year led Germany's response to tensions with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey, says Maas will do an "excellent" job.
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President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has congratulated Angela Merkel on her re-election as German Chancellor and wished further strengthening of the role of Germany in the worldwide arena.
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 of her conservative Christian Democratic Union, its Bavaria-only sister party, the Christian Social Union and the center-left Social Democrats has 399 seats.
Wednesday's parliamentary vote came 171 days after the election, almost double the previous record.
In coming days Merkel will head to Paris to discuss EU reform plans with French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of a March 22-23 summit after a six-month stretch in which Berlin was hamstrung on the European and world stage.