Angela Merkel begins fourth term as German Chancellor

Germany's new grand coalition ends 'time of uncertainty'

Germany's Merkel faces US, EU challenges

Germany's parliament on Wednesday voted in Angela Merkel to a fourth term as the country's chancellor, heading a "grand coalition" of conservative and center-left parties.

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, wearing a white blazer, said "I accept the vote" and beamed happily as applause filled the Bundestag chamber, where her scientist husband Joachim Sauer and her 89-year-old mother Herlind Kasner were among the well-wishers.

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).

She received 364 out of 709 votes in the first round of voting - 11 more than required to gain an absolute majority, but also 35 fewer than if all the members of her next governing coalition had cast their ballot in her favour. Earlier on Tuesday, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel condemned a nerve agent attack in England on a former spy that the British government has blamed on Russian Federation, and said the perpetrators must be held accountable.

She said that "we need Europe - a Europe that shares the same values and acts together, particularly toward the outside world, and we. will make our contribution".

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