, Dec 8 () –
The lower house of the German Parliament, the Bundestag, has elected the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz as the new chancellor, at the head of a tripartite coalition that also incorporates Greens and Liberals and that ends 16 years of uninterrupted power of Angela Merkel.
The ‘traffic light’ coalition, as the alliance between the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Greens and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) is known, has added 395 votes in favor in the Bundestag this Wednesday, enough for Scholz to have exceeded the threshold of the 369 he needed to be appointed new chancellor.
Scholz, 63, thus assumes the main position of the Government after serving as “number two” and as coalition ministers in the now defunct “grand coalition” with Merkel, who did not aspire to reelection in the September legislative elections.
Scholz becomes the ninth chancellor of Germany since World War II. It has done so in the presence of the last Social Democratic leader, Gerhard Schroeder, invited in Parliament during the vote.
His main short-term priorities include containing the COVID-19 pandemic as well as international challenges such as escalating tensions with Russia over its growing presence on the Ukraine border.