German Chancellor Angela Merkel sits in the government bench prior to be sworn-in for a fourth term as chancellor in the German parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, March 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
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German lawmakers Wednesday re-elected Angela Merkel as chancellor for a fourth, and likely final, term that may prove her most challenging yet as she takes charge of a fragile coalition with her personal standing diminished.Lawmakers voted by 364 to 315, with nine abstentions, in favor of re-electing Merkel, a humbling start as the coalition of her conservatives and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) has 399 votes in the Bundestag lower house of Parliament.In office since 2005, Merkel has dominated Germany's political landscape and steered the European Union through economic crisis.While also being locked in a trade stand-off with the U.S., Merkel must now juggle competing domestic demands from within her coalition.Her conservative CDU/CSU alliance only turned to the SPD to prolong the 'grand coalition' that has governed Germany since 2013 out of desperation, after talks on a three-way alliance with two smaller parties collapsed in November.
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