Alexa

Merkel sworn in as German chancellor

Merkel sworn in as German chancellor

Angela Merkel was sworn in Wednesday for a second term as German chancellor and her new center-right government took up the task of tackling the country's tough economic situation a month after national elections.
Merkel, 55, will serve as chancellor of a ruling coalition made up of her Christian Democratic Party, its Bavaria-only sister party the Christian Social Union, and the pro-business Free Democrats
She was elected through a vote of 323 in favor out of a possible 612. But nine members of coalition parties voted against her, leading some to question the government's solidity hours after she and her 15 ministers were sworn in.
"I respect those who do not want to vote for me," Merkel said in an interview with ARD public television. "That is part of democracy."
In its sweeping agenda, the new coalition has promised an overhaul of the health care system, more help for families and annual tax cuts of up to ⁈lion ($36 billion).
But Merkel called into question whether the government would be able to come good on its pledges.
"I cannot guarantee it down to the letter, as there are others involved who are not part of the coalition agreement," Merkel said. Germany's upper house of parliament, made up of representatives of its 16 states, must also sign off on any tax cuts.
Hours after being sworn in, Merkel departed for Paris, where she is to have dinner with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, keeping up a postwar tradition of new German and French heads of government visiting the other upon taking office.
In his address to the new government, Koehler called Merkel and her ministers to help give European integration a boost.
"Germany should be one of the nations that actively contributes to moving Europe forward," the president said.
From Paris, Merkel heads to Brussels to attend the European Union summit on Thursday and Friday, expected to focus on the bloc's future and the disputed treaty that Merkel championed during her first term in office.
In 2005, Merkel became the first woman to be elected as Germany's head of government. During her first term she led a grand coalition of Germany's two main parties _ her conservatives and the Social Democrats.
She is the only German head of government to switch coalition partners between terms in office.
On Tuesday she is to speak before the U.S. Congress, a week before she will give her first address to Germany's parliament _ a move criticized by the opposition as disrespectful and an affront,


Updated : 2021-03-02 13:58 GMT+08:00