The German Parliament met on Tuesday for the first time since last month’s general election as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepared to launch talks to form a new coalition government.
The meeting of the 631-strong Bundestag came one day before Ms. Merkel is due to lead the first round of negotiations with the main opposition Social Democrats to forge a so-called grand coalition.
The main task of the lawmakers was to elect the Parliament’s new office-bearers, with the chamber’s current president Norbert Lammert, a member of Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), returned to the post after being backed by an overwhelming majority of parliamentarians.
“There is no Parliament in Europe, which has as much influence as the Bundestag,” Mr. Lammert told lawmakers.
The CDU and its Bavarian-based associate party, the Christian Social Union, emerged as the biggest bloc in the election with 311 seats in the new Parliament.
But Ms. Merkel needs a new coalition partner after falling short by a handful of seats to gain an absolute majority at the election held more than four weeks ago and after her previous ally, the Free Democrats (FDP), failed to be returned to Parliament.
But the current government continues in a caretaker role until the negotiations to form new coalition is completed, which the Chancellor warned last week could take until Christmas.