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

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

Germany's new grand coalition "didn't start off as a marriage of love" but marks the end of a period of political uncertainty, interim leader of the Social Democrats Olaf Scholz said Monday, as the coalition parties ready to sign an agreement.

Merkel has been only a caretaker chancellor since October, and many unresolved issues await the new government. If she sees out a full term, Ms Merkel will have spent 16 years in office, equalling the record set by Helmut Kohl between 1982 and 1998.

The ceremony is scheduled for 2 pm local time in the Paul Loebe Building of the German government complex in the capital Berlin.

"I am optimistic that we'll manage it", Merkel said.

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Merkel said she and her finance minister-designate, Olaf Scholz, would visit France after being sworn in, and "we will be able to say more than we could in December" at an European Union summit later this month.

The leaders of Germany's conservative parties and Social Democrats (SPD) plan to sign their coalition government agreement on Monday, bringing an official end to almost half a year of political uncertainty.

"I got a very good smoked fish from Putin", said Merkel. But he said that the allies "are in a position to work constructively together and govern decently".

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