Social Democrat Olaf Scholz Officially Sworn In as Germany’s New Chancellor

Social Democrat Olaf Scholz Officially Sworn In as Germany’s New Chancellor

The 16-year-long era of Angela Merkel ended on Wednesday as Social Democrat Olaf Scholz was officially sworn in as the new Chancellor of Germany.

Scholz has become the head of a new Cabinet made up of a so called “traffic light” coalition of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Greens, and the liberal centrists Free Democratic Party (FDP).

The Bundestag, the lower chamber of the German parliament, officially elected Scholz as the new leader of the most populous EU member state, with 395 votes in favor out, 303 votes against, and 6 abstaining, DW reported.

The secret vote, which was held without debate, was called by Bundestag President Baerbel Bas, and was more of a formality than a real political challenge – even though 21 MPs from the three coalition parties didn’t support the Scholz Cabinet as their combined total number of votes is 416.

Scholz’s SPD came in first in the September general elections in Germany, with 25.7% and a small lead over the conservative CDU, whose leader Angela Merkel had already announced she is retiring.

After the vote in the Bundestag on Wednesday morning, Scholz was taken to Schloss Bellevue, the presidential palace in Berline, were the German head of state, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, gave him a document for his appointment.

The new Chancellor of Germany then returned to the parliamentary chamber for his official swearing in.

As that was completed, Scholz and the future members of his Cabinet traveled to the presidential palace in order to be inaugurated.

As per the coalition agreement, Germany’s new Cabinet is going to have 16 ministries. Seven of those will be held by the SPD, five – by the Greens, and four – by the FDP.

During the day, the ministers from the outgoing Cabinet of Angela Merkel, her fourth, officially handed their responsibilities over to their replacements.

In his congratulatory message to the new German leader Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed desire for collaboration in the name of the better future of Europe.

“We will write the next chapter together. For the French, for the Germans, for the Europeans,” Macron said in a tweet as he welcoming Scholz’s election.

At the same time, the French leader thanked Angela Merkel for “never forgetting the lessons of history, for doing so much for us, with us, to move Europe forwards.”

Despite her long-running chancellorship, Merkel remained the second-longest serving Chancellor of the Federal Republican of Germany since its formation in 1945.

Her four four-year terms combined to a total of 16 years and 16 days, ten days fewer than the 16 years and 26 days served by her predecessor and former mentor, Chancellor Helmut Kohl from 1982 and 1998.

(Banner image: video grab from DW)

Ivan Dikov is a Bulgarian journalist and author. He studied political science / international relations and history at Dartmouth College and later in Sofia, in the Eastern Balkans. He’s served for five years as the editor-in-chief of Bulgaria’s largest English-language media – As a freelancer, he has collaborated with media from the US, the UK, Germany, and Australia.

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