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The world weighs in on Merkel's election victory

World leaders have said the election victory of German Chancellor Merkel is an important step in boosting austerity-hit Europe. The press has called her win a historic achievement that solidifies her grasp on power.

Chancellor Angela Merkel received congratulations from some of her most powerful European allies after she successfully secured a third term as chancellor in Germany's election on Sunday.

French President Francois Hollande called to offer wish her well and invite her to Paris once her new government is formed. During their conversation, the two leaders "expressed their willingness … to continue their close cooperation to meet the challenges of the European project," the French presidency announced in a statement.

British Prime Minister David Cameron turned to Twitter to offer his kind words. "Many congratulations to Angela Merkel," he wrote. "I'm looking forward to continuing to work closely with her."

Italy's prime minister, Enrico Letta, hailed Merkel's "brilliant" victory, and said that the failure of the upstart euroskeptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) party to reach parliament was "a good result for the European Union."

EU President Herman Van Rompuy expressed in a statement his belief that Merkel would work for a more successful Europe.

"I am confident that Germany and it's new government will continue its commitment and contribution to the construction of a peaceful and prosperous Europe at the service of all its citizens," he said.

US President Barack Obama called Merkel on Monday to congratulate her on her party's win. "The president noted his deep appreciation for Chancellor Merkel's friendship, leadership, and steadfast support of the transatlantic relationship," a White House statement said adding, "The president and Chancellor Merkel agreed to continue their close cooperation on key issues of regional and global concern."

Press weighs in

The New York Times wrote that Merkel had "scored a stunning personal triumph" that was "a clear validation of her leadership."

In an editorial titled "Germany: The Age of Merkel," Britain's center-left Guardian newspaper called Merkel's victory "a stunning personal triumph that consolidates her unchallenged claim to be the dominant political leader in modern economic-crisis-riven Europe."

Britain's conservative Daily Mail wrote that the chancellor "had become Germany's [Margaret] Thatcher," referring to the "Iron Lady" who served as prime minister from 1979 to 1990.

Austria's center-right Die Press said Merkel's victory was her "greatest success" but warned it was "a triumph that could end bitterly" if she didn't act fast to secure a coalition.

The Czech newspaper Lidove noviny called the nearly 42 percent of votes won by the chancellor's conservative Christian Democrats "an absolute rarity in the European context of the past years," adding that while voters in other countries had punished politicians for "political trimmings" during the economic crisis, "Merkel has grown."

Denmark's Politiken newspaper said that regardless of what coalition Merkel enters, "it is decided that the German government is creating stability and standing firm behind its support for the EU and euro. Right now Europe needs political action after the long standstill before the German election."

dr/ (AFP, dpa)