She received 364 out of 709 votes in the first round of voting in parliament, nine more than required to gain an absolute majority, but also 35 fewer than if all the members of her next governing coalition had cast their ballot in her favour.
As the chancellor received standing ovations, handshakes and bouquets of flowers from delegates across the political spectrum, she was watched over by her 89-year-old mother, Herlind Kasner, seated on the Bundestag’s gallery next to Merkel’s husband, Joachim Sauer, and long-term adviser Beate Baumann.
After the vote, the chancellor travelled to Schloss Bellevue to receive a letter of appointment from the president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, before heading back to the Bundestag in order to take the oath of office. The new cabinet meets for the first time this afternoon.
The pressure will be on the new government to immediately get down to business, after months of horse-trading and delayed decision-making. Merkel said on Monday her new government’s focus would be on integrating refugees as well as increasing state powers to extradite people who had no right of residence.