Germany's Merkel, UK's May agree to counter 'Russian aggression'

Merkel faces stormy times in 4th term as German leader

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

Germany has been locked in political uncertainty for nearly six months after millions of voters abandoned the two main parties. Since October 24, 2017 she and her Cabinet continue as the acting government until a new government is formed.

Politicians voted by 364 to 315, with nine abstentions, in favour of re-electing 63-year-old Ms Merkel.

Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said the German leader had condemned the attack and assured May in a telephone call that she was taking the British government's views on possible Russian involvement in the attack extremely seriously.

"I accept the vote", Merkel told the Bundestag lower house of parliament after the vote.

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Merkel's Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats, who have agreed to reenter a grand coalition together, have a total of 399 votes between them.

The new "grand coalition" of Germany's biggest parties emerged after Merkel's attempt to forge an alliance with two smaller parties collapsed.

Wolfgang Kubicki, deputy leader of the pro-business Free Democrats, said of the result of Wednesday vote: "That was closer than we expected".

Angela Merkel "optimistic" and eager to 'get to work very quickly'.

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