Germany's parliament has confirmed Angela Merkel as the German Chancellor for her fourth term. Merkel will govern in coalition with the Social Democrats. However, she won by a narrow margin of 9 votes.
Angela Merkel is a German politician who has been serving as Chancellor of Germany since 2005 and is leader of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) since 2000. Merkel is known to the world as the de facto leader of the European Union, the most powerful woman in the world, and the leader of the Free World.
Post Germany’s reunification in 1990, Merkel was elected to the Bundestag, the German federal parliament, for the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and has been reelected since. Merkel was chosen as the Federal Minister for Women and Youth in Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s government in 1991, and became the Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in 1994. After losing the federal elections in 1998, Merkel was elected Secretary-General of the CDU before being appointed as the party's first female leader.
After the federal elections of 2005, she was appointed Germany's first female Chancellor. The CDU received the highest number of votes in the 2009 federal election, allowing Merkel to form a coalition government with the Free Democratic Party (FDP). In 2013, CDU won a massive victory with 41.5% of the vote and formed a second grand coalition with the Social Democratic Party. The CDU won once again in the 2017 federal election and Merkel was reelected to her fourth term on March 14, 2018.
Merkel was President of the European Council in 2007 and played a key role in the negotiation of the Treaty of Lisbon and the Berlin Declaration. As of March 26, 2014, Merkel became the longest-serving head of government in the European Union.
Merkel was elected by Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, comprising of deputies from her own conservative CDU-CSU and her junior coalition partners, the Social Democratic Party (SPD).
Overall, 364 members of the Bundestag voted for Merkel, while 315 voted against her. After the vote, Merkel was sworn in by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Merkel's conservatives won the election held in September 2017, obtaining 33% of the vote, ahead of the SPD with 20.5%. However, both of those figures fell sharply compared to 2013, partly due to the rise of the far-right populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which won 12.6% of the vote. After the recent appointment, Merkel said one of her new government's goals is to win back voters lost to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).
The Chancellor has dominated Germany's political landscape and directed the European Union through economic crisis. However, her authority was negatively affected by her decision to introduce Germany to an open-door policy on refugees in 2015, resulting in an influx of more than one million people leading to divisions within the EU over migration.
The German economy has seen great progress as Angela Merkel formally began her term as Chancellor. German unemployment is almost non-existent, stock prices are at record highs, and there is almost no inflation. However, industry experts believe that this boom is set to end, critiquing that her reappointment would damage entrepreneurship and growth in the country. Nevertheless, Germany remains by far the Eurozone’s biggest economy.
Our assessment is that Merkel’s re-election for the fourth term reaffirms that her contributions to Germany are valued by its people. Her primary focus remains on prioritizing the strengthening of transatlantic economic relations. She held an important role in managing the financial crisis at the European and international level. During her Chancellorship so far, the major issues she has encountered are the German domestic policy, healthcare reforms, problems concerning future energy development, and the ongoing migrant crisis. Merkel will now begin her fourth term as German chancellor and her third as the leader of a grand coalition.
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