Angela Merkel elected to fourth term as German chancellor 171 days after elections

Germany's parliament has elected Angela Merkel for her fourth term as chancellor, putting an end to nearly six months of political drift in Europe's biggest economy.

Politicians voted 364-315 today to re-elect Ms Merkel, who ran unopposed. There were nine abstentions.

The coalition of Ms Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union, its Bavaria-only sister party the Christian Social Union and the centre-left Social Democrats has 399 seats.

The same parties have governed for the past four years but putting together the new coalition has been hard work.

Today's parliamentary vote comes 171 days - nearly double the previous record - after September's election, in which they all lost significant ground.

The Social Democrats initially planned to go into opposition.

Ms Merkel will head a much-changed new cabinet.

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