Merkel elected to third term in parliament vote

Merkel elected to third term in parliament vote

BERLIN - Reuters
Merkel elected to third term in parliament vote

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is sworn-in by Parliament President Norbert Lammert during the meeting of Germany's lower house of parliament, Bundestag in Berlin Dec 17, 2013. REUTERS photo

Angela Merkel was elected to a third term as chancellor in a vote in the German lower house of parliament Dec. 17, paving the way for her new "grand coalition" government to be sworn in and formally take power later in the day.

Merkel's conservatives scored their best result in over two decades in a German election on Sept. 22 but were forced into lengthy coalition talks with the rival Social Democrats (SPD), whose members only approved the deal last weekend.

The vote in the Bundestag was a formality as the ruling parties hold an overwhelming majority of the seats. A total of 462 lawmakers backed Merkel for chancellor, with 150 voting against and 9 abstaining.

The new government faces a host of challenges, from bedding down European reforms aimed at shielding the bloc from future crises, to seeing through Merkel's costly switch from nuclear to renewable energy.

Merkel, dressed in black and looking relaxed as lawmakers voted in the Bundestag chamber, joins fellow conservatives Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl as the only post-war chancellors to have won three terms.