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Merkel to Launch Her Fourth German Gov’t

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, bruised by half a year of post-election coalition haggling, on Wednesday starts her fourth and likely final term at the helm of Europe's biggest economy.

Angela Merkel

Lawmakers in Berlin's glass-domed Reichstag will vote from 0800 GMT to re-elect Merkel before she is appointed at 1000 GMT by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and takes the oath of office an hour later.

For the veteran leader, the ceremony will mark the end of a painful stretch of post-election paralysis, the deepest crisis in her 12-year career.

A right-wing populist rise in a September election weakened all mainstream parties and deprived Merkel of a majority, forcing her into another unhappy alliance with the center-left Social Democratic Party [SPD].

The grand coalition, mockingly dubbed a "GroKo", didn't start as a "love marriage", her designated vice chancellor and finance minister, the SPD's Olaf Scholz, drily observed Monday.

All coalition partners nonetheless sought to allay fears that their marriage of convenience could break up mid-term, insisting they plan to jointly govern until 2021.

"We have got a lot of work ahead of us," said Merkel.

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-months stretch in which Berlin was hamstrung on the European and world stage.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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