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Germany and its European Union partners must act quickly to find common ground on a European investment budget, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday, before signing an agreement on her new coalition government.

"I accept the vote", said the German leader, who has been at the helm of Europe's top economy for 12 years.

Nevertheless, designated SPD leader Andrea Nahles expressed astonishment at the narrow margin with which Merkel secured her chancellorship.

Ending with the phrase "So help me God", Merkel took her oath of office in front of parliamentary speaker and former finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Bundestag backs alliance of three parties under Merkel's leadership after six months of talks and major concessions.

Lawmakers voted earlier Wednesday by a 364-315 margin to re-elect Merkel, almost six months after Germany's election and following lengthy coalition-building efforts.

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The German Cabinet has changed dramatically as a result of the coalition, with new faces in the most important posts, including finance, foreign and interior ministries.

Angela Merkel received 364 votes out of 692. Merkel's party Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats have agreed to forge a grand coalition and have a total 399 vote.

Merkel will first travel to the Berlin residence of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to be officially nominated before returning to the Bundestag to be sworn in as Chancellor later in the day. Opposition leaders portrayed that as a blow to her authority, though the result was in line with those at the beginning of Merkel's two previous "grand coalitions".

Merkel's spokesman said she would head to France on Friday to discuss bilateral, European and global topics with President Emmanuel Macron.

Anger over Merkel's 2015 decision to open the country's doors to hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers led to a surge in support for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which scored nearly 13% in September's polls.

Thorsten Faas, a political science professor at Berlin's Free University, said the coalition is likely to last until 2021 as scheduled and noted that the governing parties have demonstrated that they can work together.


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