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  1. Germany Main Page
  2. The Rise of Bismarck and the Birth of the Second German Reich
  3. Adolf Hitler and WWII
  4. Post-War Germany Is Disarmed, Demilitarized, and Divided
  5. Federal Republic of Germany
  6. Democratic Republic of Germany
  7. Berlin Wall Falls, Germany Reunifies
  8. Centrist Gerhard Schroder Elected Chancellor
  9. Germany's Unemployment Rate Reaches 12%
  10. Germany Takes Major Role in Managing Euro Debt Crisis
  11. New Island Emerges Off the Coast
  12. Merkel Elected to a Third Term; Spying Scandals Sour Relationship with U.S.
Merkel Elected to a Third Term; Spying Scandals Sour Relationship with U.S.

Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel
Source: Amel Emric for Associated Press

Merkel was elected to a third four-year term in September 2013. Her performance at the polls exceeded expectations. Her center-right Christian Democrats and sister party Christian Social Union in Bavaria won 311 seats out of 630 in the lower house of parliament—the best showing since unification. The resounding victory confirmed Merkel's position as the strongest leader in Europe. Another coalition partner, the Free Democrats, however, was ousted from parliament, garnering less than 5% of the vote. After five weeks of talks, the chancellor's Christian Democrats formed a grand coalition with the center-left Social Democrats in November. Together they will hold 80% of the seats. As part of the negotiations, the Christian Democrats adopted policies to the left of the party's. For example, they agreed to lower the retirement age from 67 to 63 for some workers and implement the country's first national minimum wage of €8.50 ($11.50). Germany had allowed unions and companies negotiate and set wages by industry.

In October, NSA documents leaked to the media by Edward Snowden revealed that the agency had tapped Merkel's cellphone for about 10 years, beginning in 2002. Outraged, she called U.S. president Barack Obama, who apologized and promised that such activity would not continue. The incident soured the relationship between the normally close allies. Ties were further strained in July 2104, amid reports that the U.S. hired a clerk at Germany's intelligence agency to steal hundreds of documents. Days later, German officials announced they believe they had uncovered a second spy working for the U.S. In response, Germany expelled the CIA station chief from Berlin.

The tables were turned in August 2014, when news reports said Germany has made a practice of spying on Turkey. Turkey demanded an explanation. Germany neither confirmed nor denied the allegation.

See also Encyclopedia: Germany .
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Germany
Federal Statistical Office .

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