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Scholz’s election as German chancellor planned for December 8th

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz is expected to be officially elected German chancellor on December 8th, replacing Angela Merkel after 16 years at the helm, parliament said in a planning statement on Thursday.

Olaf Scholz at Westhafen, Berlin
Incoming Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrives at Westhafen at the unveiling of the new government's coalition pact on November 24th, 2021. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Michael Kappeler

“Chancellor election day expected on Wednesday, December 8th, 2021”, the Bundestag said in the note. The election of Social Democrat Scholz, 63, would officially end Merkel’s 16 years in office.

Scholz’s SPD last week announced a coalition tie-up with the Greens and liberal Free Democrats (FDP), putting the centre-left in charge for the first time in 16 years.

Scholz, 63, was labour minister in Merkel’s first coalition from 2007 to 2009 before taking over as vice-chancellor and finance minister in 2015.

Known for being meticulous, confident and fiercely ambitious, he has cemented his reputation as a fiscal conservative — something that at times puts him at odds with his workers’ party.

During the election campaign, Scholz had styled himself as the continuity candidate, mimicking Merkel down to her “rhombus” hand gesture.

In the run-up to the power transfer, Merkel had taken pains to ensure an orderly transition — taking Scholz with her to the G20 summit in October in Rome where he also participated in key bilateral meetings including with US President Joe Biden.

He has also featured prominently in talks on Germany’s response to tame surging coronavirus infections.

In strong endorsement for him, Merkel herself has shrugged aside the fact that Scholz stems from a rival political party, saying she will be “able to sleep soundly” with him as chancellor.

READ ALSO: ‘Eternal’ chancellor: Germany’s Merkel set to hand over power

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POLITICS

Ex-chancellor Schröder sues German Bundestag for removing perks

Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has sued the German parliament for removing some of his official post-retirement perks over his links to Russian energy giants, his lawyer said Friday.

Ex-chancellor Schröder sues German Bundestag for removing perks

Schröder, 78, has come under heavy criticism for his proximity to Russian President Vladimir Putin and involvement with state-backed energy companies.

The decision to suspend Schröder’s taxpayer-funded office and staff in May was “contrary to the rule of law”, Michael Nagel, told public broadcaster NDR.

Schröder “heard of everything through the media”, Nagel said, noting that the Social Democrat had asked for a hearing before the budget committee responsible but was not given the chance to express himself.

READ ALSO: Germany strips Schröder of official perks over Russia ties

Schröder’s lawyers filed the complaint with an administrative Berlin court, a spokesman for the court confirmed.

In its decision to strip him of the perks, the committee concluded that Schröder, who served as chancellor from 1998 to 2005, “no longer upholds the continuing obligations of his office”.

Most of Schröder’s office staff had already quit before the final ruling was made.

Despite resigning from the board of Russian oil company Rosneft and turning down a post on the supervisory board of gas giant Gazprom in May, Schröder has maintained close ties with the Kremlin.

The former chancellor met Putin in July, after which he said Moscow was ready for a “negotiated solution” to the war in Ukraine — comments branded as “disgusting” by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Last week, the Social Democrats concluded that Schröder would be allowed to remain a member after he was found not have breached party rules over his ties to the Russian President.

Schröder’s stance on the war and solo diplomacy has made him an embarrassment to the SPD, which is also the party of current Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

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