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December 9, 2021

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Lawmakers elect Scholz as German chancellor

German lawmakers elected Social Democrat Olaf Scholz as new chancellor yesterday, ending 16 years of conservative rule under Angela Merkel and paving the way for a pro-European coalition government, which has vowed to boost green investment.

Scholz, 63, who served as vice-chancellor and finance minister in Merkel’s outgoing government, got a clear majority of 395 votes from lawmakers in the Bundestag lower house of parliament, Bundestag President Baerbel Bas said.

Scholz, who nodded wearing a face mask and waved as he received a standing ovation from lawmakers, received bouquets of flowers and a basket of apples from the leaders of the parliamentary groups.

After being nominated by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in nearby Bellevue Castle, Scholz would return to parliament to take the oath of office in front of the lawmakers.

In the afternoon, Merkel would hand over the chancellery to the new leader of Europe’s largest economy which is facing a brutal fourth wave of coronavirus infections and challenges to its democratic order by authoritarian regimes.

With his down-to-earth and no-nonsense manner, Scholz has positioned himself as Merkel’s natural successor and a safe pair of hands to steer Germany through challenges ranging from tackling the climate crisis to dealing with a more confrontational Russia and a more assertive China.

Scholz will lead an unprecedented three-way ruling coalition with environmentalist Greens and the fiscally more conservative Free Democrats.


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