In the 2005 elections she led the CDU-CSU coalition to a narrow victory over the Social Democrats. No party, however, secured a workable plurality of seats, forcing the CDU-CSU into coalition with the Social Democrats. Merkel became chancellor, the first woman and the first E German after unification to do so. She remained chancellor after the 2009 elections when the CDU-CSU formed a center-right coalition with the Free Democrats. Her government's response to the effects of the post-2008 downturn in Germany and associated economic crisis in the eurozone in 2009–10 led to a loss of popularity at home and somewhat strained relations at times with European nations, but economic growth and low unemployment in Germany subsequently benefited the CDU-CSU. In 2013 the CDU-CSU won again, but fell short of a majority and again entered into a coalition with the Social Democrats; Merkel remained chancellor. Coalition losses in 2017 led to difficult negotiations for a new government, but ultimately Merkel re-formed the coalition with the Social Democrats in 2018 and secured a fourth term as chancellor.
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