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Olaf Scholz elected German Chancellor

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Of the 736 elected members of the Bundestag resulting from the September 26 election, 395 voted for Olaf Scholz, 303 against and 6 abstained, allowing him to become the ninth chancellor of post-war Germany.

YesOlaf Scholz then replied to Bundestag President Bärbel Bas, who asked him if he accepted the result of the vote. The President of the Federal Republic, Frank-Walter Steinmeier must now hand over his act of appointment, which will then mark the official start of his mandate.

At midday, he will take the oath, with his government, before the deputies.

There was no doubt about his election: his Social Democratic Party (SPD), which won the legislative elections, has a comfortable majority (206 seats), with its two new coalition partners, the Greens (118 seats) and the Liberals. of the FDP (92).

This vote marks the withdrawal of Angela Merkel after four terms of office which, within nine days, did not allow her to break the longevity record held by Helmut Kohl (1982-1998).

Tribute to Merkel

Present in the assembly to attend the election of her successor, she was applauded at length by the deputies, most of them standing, before the opening of the plenary session.

Angela Merkel smiles.

Angela Merkel on her arrival at the Bundestag in Berlin.

Photo: Reuters / ANNEGRET HILSE

In response, Angela Merkel, medical mask on her face, waved to them from the grandstand.

French President Emmanuel Macron sent via Twitter a thank you, dear Angela to the conservative leader for never having forgotten the lessons of history, having done so much for us, with us, to move Europe forward.

The leader, who has received cascading tributes in recent weeks, will leave the chancellery permanently after a handover ceremony in the afternoon with Olaf Scholz, her political opponent, but also, game of alliances oblige, her minister of Finance and Vice-Chancellor for the past four years.

Angela Merkel, at the height of her popularity not long ago, is putting an end to 31 years of political career.

A feminist chancellor

A convinced feminist, Olaf Scholz will take over the reins of a government made up for the first time as many men as women.

Three of them will be at the head of key ministries: Foreign Affairs for the ecologist Annalena Baerbock, Defense and the Interior for the two social democrats Christine Lambrecht and Nancy Faeser.

The government will also be unprecedented in its political composition. For the first time since the 1950s, it will bring together three parties: the SPD, the Greens and the Liberal Democratic Party (FDP).

The two women are seated and discussing.

Christine Lambrecht and Nancy Faeser become ministers in the government of Olaf Scholz.

Photo: Getty Images / Sean Gallup

These three formations quickly reached agreement on a program which gives pride of place to climate protection, budgetary rigor and Europe.

Christian Lindner, the leader of the liberals and paragon of budgetary austerity, must also take the head of the powerful Ministry of Finance.

Barely installed in their new functions, the ministers will face a health crisis on a scale unmatched since the appearance of COVID-19. The epidemic outbreak has already pushed Berlin to a drastic turn of the screw for the unvaccinated.

The strategy of the new executive is now based on compulsory vaccination desired by Olaf Scholz and which could be adopted in February or March.

However, the new team risks meeting with anger in the former GDR, a region where the extreme right has its strongholds and where part of the population feeds on conspiracy theories by rejecting vaccination.

International challenges

The new government is also eagerly awaited internationally in the midst of geopolitical turmoil with Russia and China.

Olaf Scholz has not commented on the United States’ announcement of a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, while the new head of diplomacy has not ruled out following in Washington’s footsteps.

Annalena Baerbock also promised to adopt a stronger tone than the previous government with regard to Moscow at a time when Russia is massing troops and significant military assets on the borders of Ukraine, raising fears of aggression.

As tradition dictates, Olaf Scholz will reserve his first visit to French President Emmanuel Macron who should receive him on Friday.

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