Donald Trump congratulates Angela Merkel four days after election

Other world leaders congratulated Chancellor Merkel on winning the election at the start of the week. The US president took four days to offer his congratulations.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday congratulated German Chancellor Angela Merkel on her election victory.

The phone call came a notably long time after the German election on Sunday. Other world leaders congratulated the chancellor at the beginning of the week.

"President Donald J. Trump spoke today with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany to congratulate her on her election victory and wish her well in the formation of her fourth government," said a statement from the White House on Thursday evening.

Trump underscored the "deep ties" between the nations as well as Washington's "commitment to our longstanding, strong alliance."

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Quadriga | 28.09.2017

After the Election: What Now Frau Merkel?

Four days versus one 

When Trump was elected president in 2016, Merkel's congratulations came a day later, compared to the four days it took Trump. Her congratulations were somewhat reserved at the time, however.

"Germany and America are bound by their values: democracy, freedom, the respect for the law and the dignity of human beings, independent of their origin, skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political position," she wrote in 2016. "On the basis of these values, I offer the future president of the United States, Donald Trump, close cooperation."

Trump has been a frequent critic of Merkel, attacking her for Germany's trade surplus with the US, her open-door refugee policy and what he considers to be too-low defense spending.

During the German election campaign, Trump and his policies were implicitly criticized by the German leader.

Conversation dominated by North Korea

On Thursday Merkel's government spokesman, Steffen Seibert, confirmed the call in a post on Twitter, saying the bulk of the conversation focused on relations with North Korea and the Iran nuclear agreement.

Speaking on North Korea, Merkel said "all means must be used for a peaceful resolution of the conflict," according to Seibert's post. The two leaders agreed that "diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea must be intensified."

Speaking on the Iranian nuclear deal that Trump has heavily criticized in the past, Merkel said it was an "important instrument" to prevent Iran from arming itself with nuclear weapons. The Chancellor agreed with Trump that Iran's "negative role" in Syria and Lebanon, as well as its failure to recognize Israel's right to exist were "unacceptable." She agreed that the Iranian missile program violated UN Security Council's directives.

Merkel's CDU party won 33 percent of the vote after 12 years of Merkel at the helm. The CDU is currently in negotiations to form a coalition government.

aw/rc (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

Germany's colorful coalition shorthand

Colorful shorthand for German coalitions

Coalitions are common under Germany's proportional representation system. To describe complex ballot outcomes, political pundits use colorful symbolism, often alluding to the flags of other nations. Coalition short-hand includes 'Jamaica,' 'Kenya,' and 'traffic light' coalitions.

Germany's colorful coalition shorthand

'Jamaica' option - black, yellow and green

The three-way deal between the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), the Greens and the liberal Free Democrats, whose color is yellow will not be happening at national level after the FDP called off talks. The northern state of Schleswig-Holstein currently has a "Jamaica" government, as CDU premier Daniel Günther governs with the FDP and the Greens.

Germany's colorful coalition shorthand

Black-red coalition

Conservative black combined with transformative red is the color code when the Christian Democrats govern in a grand coalition with the Social Democrats. Yellow on these billboards alludes to Germany's tricolor flag of black, red and gold. Black tops the flag, signifying Germany's responsibility for the Holocaust.

Germany's colorful coalition shorthand

'Pizza Connection' in Bonn, before parliament moved to Berlin

When Bonn was still Germany's capital, individual conservatives and Greens met from 1995 in its suburban Italian Sassella restaurant. Since then, the 'Pizza Connection' has become code for speculation over further links. At regional level, in Hesse's Wiesbaden assembly, Merkel's CDU and Greens have governed together since 2014. Baden-Württemburg's Greens-CDU coalition has governed since 2016.

Germany's colorful coalition shorthand

Another untried combination: Black, red, green, symbolized by Kenya's flag

So far, a 'Kenyan' coalition has only emerged once at regional state level - last year in Saxony-Anhalt, when the SPD's vote collapsed, and the AfD took a quarter of the votes. Premier Reiner Haseloff of Merkel's conservatives forged a coalition comprising his conservative CDU, the battered SPD and the region's Greens.

Germany's colorful coalition shorthand

'Traffic light' coalition

The market-oriented liberal FDP, whose color is yellow, has in the past generally ruled out federal coalitions sandwiched between the Social Democrats, whose color is red, and the Greens. A current example is Rhineland Palatinate's three-way regional state coalition based in Mainz and headed by Social Democrat Malu Dreyer.

Germany's colorful coalition shorthand

Center-left combinations in three eastern states

Red-red-green coalitions exist in two German regions: since last September in Berlin city state and since 2014 in Thuringia. It's Erfurt-based government is headed by Left party premier Bodo Ramelow, seen signing (third from left). Berlin's three-way mix is headed by Social Democrat Michael Müller. Brandenburg has a two-way coalition, comprising the Social Democrats and the Left party.