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

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
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.

“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.

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