Germany closes the Merkel era with the election of Olaf Scholz as new chancellor | International

Olaf Scholz receives applause from the deputies during the investiture session at the Budestag, this Wednesday in Berlin.FABRIZIO BENSCH (Reuters)

The deputies of the Bundestag, the lower house of the German Parliament, have elected the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz as the new chancellor at the head of an unprecedented coalition of three parties with Greens and Liberals. Scholz has obtained 395 votes in favor, far exceeding the 369 he needed to become Angela Merkel’s successor at the head of the first European economy.

Scholz will lead a tripartite known as traffic light coalition, by the colors with which the parties that comprise it are represented: red for the Social Democrats, green for the environmentalists and yellow for the liberals of the Free Democratic Party (FDP).

Merkel, who is dismissing as chancellor after 16 years in office, attended the session sitting in the visitors’ gallery as she no longer belonged to the Bundestag as a deputy. Parliamentarians from all parties, except the far-right AfD, rose to cheer her for several minutes. The former foreign minister announced in 2018 that she would not run for re-election and has assured that she is withdrawing from active politics.

The session has only been occupied by the voting of the 707 deputies (of the 736 that the chamber has) present in the hemicycle, since there have been no speeches. The President of the Bundestag, Bärbel Bas, said a few words at the beginning. Also on the guest rostrum was Gerhard Schröder, the last Social Democrat to occupy the Chancellery until Merkel’s victory in 2005.

Scholz, 63, was until today Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister of Angela Merkel’s grand coalition government. On September 26, he led his party to victory in the federal elections by obtaining 25.7% of the votes. After two months of negotiations, at the end of November he presented a government agreement with his other two partners. The 177-page contract and formally ratified this Monday, is based on the decarbonization of the economy, the digitization and modernization of the country and gives great importance to social measures.

Scholz becomes the ninth chancellor of the German Federal Republic and returns the Social Democrats to power after 16 years as part of the grand coalition led by the Christian Democrats as a junior partner or in the opposition.

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The new German government will be almost equal, with eight ministers and eight female ministers. For the first time in the history of the Federal Republic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior will be headed by women. The Social Democrats have seven portfolios; the greens, five, and the liberals, four. The most important post after that of chancellor, that of finance minister, will be occupied by the leader of the Liberals, Christian Lindner. The two Presidents of the Greens, Robert Habeck and Annalena Baerbock, will also be in government. Habeck will head the super ministry of Economy and Climate, which brings together key competencies for the ecological transition such as Energy, while Baerbock will lead the Foreign Ministry.

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