Germany's parliament is meeting to elect Angela Merkel for a fourth term as chancellor, ending nearly six months of political drift in Europe's biggest economy.
Merkel needs the support of a majority of all lawmakers to be re-elected on Wednesday, meaning that she has to win at least 355 votes. The coalition of her conservative Christian Democratic Union, its Bavaria-only sister party, the Christian Social Union and the center-left Social Democrats has 399 seats.
The same parties have governed for the past four years but Wednesday's parliamentary vote comes 171 days — nearly double the previous record — after September's election, in which they all lost significant ground.The Social Democrats initially planned to go into opposition.
Merkel will head a much-changed new Cabinet.