After historic delay, Merkel sworn in for 4th term as German chancellor

Germany's Merkel: time for new government to get to work

Germany's Merkel: time for new government to get to work

There are reports it is likely her final term and may prove her most challenging yet as she leads a fragile coalition in the country.

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

But her authority was dented by her decision in 2015 to commit Germany to an open-door policy on refugees, resulting in an influx of more than one million people that laid bare deep divisions within the European Union over migration.

As it was reported earlier the majority of Germany's SPD voted for the formation of "grand coalition" with CDU/CSU. "It's good that the parties are ready and willing to form a government".

Another new addition to Ms Merkel's top team is Heiko Maas, the new foreign minister who replaces fellow Social Democrat, Sigmar Gabriel.

Overseas she faces the trade tensions with Washington, pressure from France to reform Europe, and from Britain to stand up to Russian Federation.

Speaking on Monday in expectation of her re-election, Merkel said: "I think everyone has the feeling it's time to finally start working". At least 35 coalition lawmakers was not in her support.

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This way, nothing can interfere the formation of the government coalition. The Social Democrats initially planned to go into opposition after crashing to their worst result since World War II, but Steinmeier nudged them into a reluctant about-turn after Merkel's talks with two smaller parties collapsed in November.

At the EU level, Merkel says she continues to expect member states to take in their allocated share of refugees - anathema to some central and eastern European nations.

Without naming a date, Merkel said she would visit Paris ahead of an European Union summit late next week, to meet Macron "with the goal of advancing common proposals for Europe".

Responding to criticism within her ranks, the fourth Merkel cabinet is younger and nearly evenly split between men and women.

"New Zealanders will recall that during the 11 days it took from the return of the writs to the day Labour-New Zealand First Coalition Government was announced, many in New Zealand media accused us of holding the country to ransom".

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

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