Nunavut Post

Friday, September 29, 2023

Germany’s Olaf Scholz succeeds Merkel as chancellor

Germany's Olaf Scholz

Key Takeaways:

  • Olaf Scholz has been certified in as Germany’s new chancellor, effectively ending Angela Merkel’s historic 16-year reign.
  • The German parliament gave him a standing ovation, where his three-party coalition had a sizable majority.

His center-left Social Democrats will form a coalition government with the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats. Mrs. Merkel’s 31-year political career ends with the transfer of power.

Mr. Scholz, a soft-spoken 63-year-old, led the Social Democrats to victory in late September, positioning himself as the continuity candidate due to his role as vice-chancellor in Merkel’s government.

The German parliament, the Bundestag, backed his appointment by 395 votes to 303, and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier formally appointed him as the ninth federal chancellor.

Following the vote in parliament, he was asked by Bundestag President Barbel Bas if he accepted the appointment, to which he replied “yes.” He later returned to the Bundestag to take the oath of office, to another standing ovation.

Mr. Scholz and Angela Merkel; Image from Euronnews

Since the election, Mr. Scholz’s party has been working on a coalition agreement with the Greens and the Free Democrats, which was finally signed on Tuesday.

He takes over from Mrs. Merkel at 15:00 local time 14:00 GMT, leading Germany’s first cabinet of equal men and women. Angela Merkel was first elected in December 1990 and was immediately appointed to a ministerial position by then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

But, after helping to depose him, she became Christian Democrat leader in 2000, and then chancellor in November 2005.

She will continue to work in a flat near the Bundestag that was formerly home to Margot Honecker, the communist East Germany’s most prominent woman.

Source: BBC News

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