German lawmakers elected Social Democrat Olaf Scholz as new chancellor on Wednesday, 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 from the leaders of the parliamentary groups.

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

In the afternoon, Merkel will hand over the chancellery to the new leader of Europe’s largest economy which is facing a brutal fourth wave of coronavirus infections.

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 on the federal level with the pro-spending, environmentalist Greens and the fiscally more conservative, libertarian Free Democrats (FDP) – unlikely political bedfellows in the past. Read More

By Ian Dei

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