German Chancellor Angela Merkel, bruised by half a year of post-election coalition haggling, was Wednesday elected by parliament to her fourth and likely final term at the helm of Europe’s biggest economy.

Lawmakers in Berlin’s glass-domed Reichstag voted 364-315 with nine abstentions for Merkel who was then to be formally appointed by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier before taking the oath of office at 1100 GMT.

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Merkel, wearing a white blazer, said “I accept the vote” and beamed happily as applause filled the Bundestag chamber, where her scientist husband Joachim Sauer and her 89-year-old mother Herlind Kasner were among the well-wishers.

For the veteran leader, the ceremony marked the end of a painful stretch of post-election paralysis, the deepest crisis of her 12-year career.

From 1600 GMT, Merkel sits down with her new cabinet, in which the SPD has wrested both the trophy posts of finance and foreign affairs to the dismay of a growing band of critics within her Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

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