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Germany Embarks New Search for a Post Merkel Government

BERLIN (AP) — Germany is embarking on a potentially lengthy search for its next government after the center-left Social Democrats narrowly beat outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right bloc in an election that failed to set a clear direction for Europe’s biggest economy under a new leader.

Leaders of the parties in the newly elected parliament were meeting Monday to digest a result that saw Merkel’s Union bloc slump to its worst-ever result in a national election and appeared to put the keys to power in the hands of two opposition parties. Both Social Democrat Olaf Scholz and Armin Laschet, the candidate of Merkel’s party, laid a claim to leading the next government.

Merkel has served as German Chancellor since 2005. She was the only female to date to lead the country.

In 2014, Merkel became the longest-serving incumbent head of government in the European Union. In October 2018, Merkel announced that she would stand down as Leader of the CDU at the party convention, and she would not seek a fifth term in 2021.

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