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December 13, 2013 AT 4:56 AM
Nearly three months since an election forced her into coalition talks with rival Social Democrats (SPD), Angela Merkel is on the verge of securing a third term, a feat achieved by only two other German chancellors in the post-war era. But her new government, to be sworn in next week once grassroots SPD members have given a green light, begins life with low expectations and modest ambitions, its policy plans condemned by economists at the country's largest bank as a "launchpad to the past".