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German Parliament Confirms Merkel for Third Term

World | December 17, 2013, Tuesday // 13:25| Views: 590 | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: German Parliament Confirms Merkel for Third Term German President Joachim Gauck (R) presents the appointment credentials to re-elected German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) during a ceremony at the Bellevue Palace in in Berlin, Germany, 17 December 2013. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Angela Merkel has been confirmed as German chancellor for a third term, at the head of a grand coalition, by a vote in the Bundestag.

The coalition between her centre-right CDU/CSU bloc and the Social Democrats (SPD) has a huge majority, with 504 of the 631 seats in the lower house.

Merkel was confirmed by 462 votes, with nine abstentions.

Germany's tough stance on fiscal discipline is unlikely to change under the new coalition.

The SPD's membership voted on Sunday to back the coalition after painstaking negotiations.

The party hammered out a minimum national wage, an hourly rate of 8.50 euros that will come into force for the first time in 2015.

"I accept the election result and thank you for your trust," said Merkel after the confirmation vote in the Bundestag. Smiling, she received a bouquet of flowers and shook hands with other MPs.

For Tuesday's vote, 621 members of parliament were present, of whom 150 voted against Merkel.

Merkel keeps her trusted lieutenant Wolfgang Schäuble as finance minister to continue Berlin's tough loans-for-reform stance toward troubled eurozone countries and as the watchful guardian of the German public purse.

The SPD gets the foreign ministry, where Frank-Walter Steinmeier returns as Germany's top diplomat, while the CDU's rising star Ursula von der Leyen, a worldly high achiever and mother-of-seven, takes over the defence ministry.

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Tags: Wolfgang Schäuble, Bundestag, Angela Merkel, Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Ursula von der Leyen
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