German Bundestag elects Angela Merkel to fourth term as Chancellor

Author (Person) ,
Series Details March 2018
Publication Date 14/03/2018
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Further information:

Among the 709 MPs voting in a secret ballot at the Parliament, 364 voted in favour of the incumbent Chancellor, while 315 voted against and nine abstained.

The mandate ahead was perceived by many analysts as the most challenging yet for Ms Merkel, considering the difficult process towards finding a parliamentary majority to support the government, the growing electoral relevance of the far-right AfD party and the resistance within the SPD regarding its participation in the government following a weak electoral result.

Background information:

The Federal Election of September 2017 resulted in further fragmentation of Germany's Bundestag. The Christian Democrats secured an electoral victory but suffered substantial losses. While the Social Democrats did not benefit from that, the Liberals managed to make a comeback to the Parliament following a disastrous outcome in 2013. The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) emerged as a new parliamentary stakeholder.

A more fragmented Parliament meant the Christian Democrats needed to join forces with both the Liberals and the Greens to find a majority that could support a new federal government. Initial negotiations were held for the establishment of a 'Jamaica Coalition' between the parties but these broke down in November 2017.

The SPD announced on 15 December the decision to hold preliminary talks with the Christian Democrats led by Angela Merkel's CDU, aiming to form another grand coalition. The news came two days after social democratic leader Martin Schulz met with Ms Merkel and Bavaria's CSU leader Horst Seehofer to discuss forming a potential governing coalition.

The first meeting between Mr Schulz and Ms Merkel was held at the invitation of the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on 30 November. It took place after the softening of the SPD's initial decision to lead the opposition.

An agreement over a blueprint for formal coalition negotiations was reached on 12 January 2018 between representatives of Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats. Following the endorsement of SPD party members, formal negotiations were held and a formal agreement was reached on 7 February. A new vote was held to approve the deal. Along the way, Martin Schulz resigned as SPD leader over criticism regarding the party's participation in the coalition government.

+ German Federal Election 2017: Results and Analysis
+ Coalition talks for a federal government following the 2017 Federal Election
+ Collapse of talks for Jamaica Coalition following September election
+ Preliminary negotiations for a grand coalition, December 2017 to January 2018
+ German Social Democrats endorse formal coalition talks following preliminary agreement with Christian Democrats
+ Germany's CDU and SPD reach formal coalition agreement in principle following further negotiations

Angela Merkel was appointed on 14 March 2018 by Germany's Parliament to lead a coalition government comprising the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD).

Related Links
Politico, 14.03.18: Angela Merkel reelected as German chancellor
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The, 14.03.18: Merkel elected to fourth term as German Chancellor
Sputnik International, 14.03.18: German Bundestag Re-Elects Merkel as Chancellor
The Independent, 14.03.18: Angela Merkel re-elected as German Chancellor to fourth term after five months of political deadlock
France24, 14.03.18: German lawmakers elect Angela Merkel to fourth term as chancellor
Reuters, 14.03.18: German lawmakers elect weakened Merkel to fourth term
Council of the European Union: Press Release, 14.03.18: Letter of congratulations from President Donald Tusk to Angela Merkel on her appointment as Federal Chancellor of Germany
The Guardian, 14.03.18: Angela Merkel faces multiple challenges in her fourth term
Deutsche Welle, 14.03.18: Five important demographic facts on the new German government
EurActiv, 16.03.18: Austria’s high hopes for Merkel 4.0

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