Merkel elected to fourth term as German chancellor

Merkel elected to fourth term as German chancellor
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel was elected to a historic fourth term in office on Sunday, according to exit polls.

BBC News reports that her center-right party, the CDU/CSU, won 32.5 percent of the vote, retaining its position as the largest party in Germany’s parliament.

Merkel faced a strong challenge in the election from Martin Schulz, the former president of the European Parliament, who criticized her for how President Trump treated her during the Group of 7 summit.

Merkel’s relationship with Trump has been strained since the president took office in January. Trump has been highly critical of Merkel’s immigration policies and said they led to an immigration crisis in Germany.

In an interview last month, Merkel said she did not regret the decision to open Germany's borders to refugees from Syria an elsewhere.

"I'd make all the important decisions of 2015 the same way again," Merkel told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper, Reuters reported in August.

"It was an extraordinary situation, and I made my decision based on what I thought was right from a political and humanitarian standpoint."

Trump has also called on Germany to contribute more money to NATO defense spending, and Merkel sharply criticized Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.

The far-right, nationalist AfD party made strong gains in Sunday's election, as exit polls suggest it’s on track to win 13.5 percent of the vote, giving it a seat in Germany’s parliament for the first time in its history.

Merkel will likely have to form a new coalition government after the Social Democratic Party of Germany received only 20 percent of the vote, according to the Guardian.