The Wall Street Journal: Angela Merkel begins 4th term as German Chancellor after most complicated coalition-building since WWII

BERLIN—Angela Merkel on Wednesday finally began her fourth, and likely final, term as German chancellor.

The lawmakers’ vote bookends the country’s longest and most complicated coalition-building exercise in post-War history, nearly six months after a general election that delivered a fractured parliament and no obvious ruling majority.

The decision, with 364 ballots out of 692 votes cast, gives Merkel’s government, to be sworn in later Wednesday, a comfortable majority in the Bundestag, parliament’s lower house, which she will need to tackle an accumulating list of international and domestic challenges.

It also ends a period of political hibernation for Europe’s largest economy and the longest-serving of the continent’s current leaders. Since Merkel and her contenders launched her electoral campaign last summer, Germany has had a “do not disturb” sign on its door.

Close allies such as French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May have had to wait as Merkel’s first attempt to form a coalition collapsed last October, forcing her into last-ditch talks with her former ruling partners and ideological rivals in the center-left Social Democratic Party.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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