Conservative leader Angela Merkel has been elected Germany's next chancellor after weeks of discussions with her future coalition partner, the Social Democrats.
She is the first woman to become the country's postwar head of government and received 397 votes.
Merkel's Christian Union parties hold 226 seats in parliament, followed closely by the Social Democratic Party (SPD), which has 222 seats. The free-market liberal Free Democrats occupy 61 seats, followed by the new Left Party, which is made up of disgruntled Social Democrats and ex-communists (54 seats) and the Greens (51 seats).
With neither a center-right nor a center-left coalition garnering enough votes to form a new government, Germany's two largest parties, the Christian Democratic Union with its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, and the Social Democrats, joined forces in a so-called grand coalition.
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