June 29, 2017
Angela Merkel Wins Third Term As Germany's Leader

Angela Merkel has been reelected as Chancellor of Germany. She is the only woman to have ever reached the top position in the German government, a post she has held since 2005.

At this time, Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party is projected to win about 43 percent of the vote in today's election. It remains to be seen if her party will eke out a majority in the German parliament or will instead have to form a difficult coalition with the left-wing opposition, the Social Democrats, who captured about 26 percent. Merkel's former coalition partner, the Free Democrats, apparently failed to win any seats this time around.

The BloombergBusinessWeek news agency reports that if the CDU vote holds up "that would give [Merkel] a one-seat majority in the lower house, allowing her party to govern without a partner for only the second time in post-World War II history."

Bloomberg added that "With unemployment near a two-decade low and the budget deficit virtually eliminated, voters backed Merkel's handling of the domestic economy, Europe's largest, and her push for austerity in the euro zone in exchange for aid."

Speaking to supporters in Berlin, Merkel called the general election outcome a "super result... We can celebrate tonight because we have done something fantastic." She added that it was too early to talk about the need to try to negotiate a governing, multi-party coalition.

The Washington Post notes that "Merkel ruled with the center-left party between 2005 and 2009, and if they renew their alliance, the Social Democrats' ascent will probably make Germany more willing to support stimulus packages and be less rigid about austerity when dealing with troubled European partners such as Greece, Spain and Portugal."

According to Forbes, Merkel, 59, is the world's most powerful woman and "the backbone of the 27-member European Union."

[Image credit: Armin Linnartz]