Germany’s new era begins as Olaf Scholz formally sworn in as German chancellor

Replacing Angela Merkel, Olaf Scholz became Germany’s new chancellor who is standing down after 16 years at the helm. Angela Merkel, who led Germany for 16 years in four terms, stepped down in four terms where she was the first female chancellor of Germany and was named the ‘world’s most powerful woman’.

Olaf was sworn in as chancellor on December 8 and he promised he would do all he could to work towards a new start for Germany. Merkel conveyed her wish on taking up the role., BBC reported.

The finance minister under Ms. Merkel led his Social Democrats to victory in the September 26 election in which an outcome considered unthinkable at the start of the year given the party’s then festering divisions and anemic support.

SPD candidate Olaf Scholz and the Christian Democratic Party and Christian social union linked party candidate Armin Laschet were the key competitors in the election. It was the first election after post-war history without the incumbent participating in it.

The vote was not a surprise. Scholz’s center-left Social-Democratic party of Germany (SPD) and its coalition partners, the Free Democrats and the Greens have 416 seats in the 736 lower house of the German parliament. 

Olaf Scholz’s political career

The new leader is a member of the Social Democratic Party(SPD), he previously served as the Vice-Chancellor to Angela Merkel and as the finance minister from 2018 to 2021. He was also the First Mayor of Hamburg from 2011 to 2018 and deputy leader of the SPD from 2009 to 2019. As of 2021, Scholz’s federal government is a traffic light coalition composed of his SPD, the Greens, and the Free Democratic Party(FDP).

After the SPD entered the Fourth Merkel Government in 2018, Scholz was appointed as both Minister of Finance and Vice-Chancellor of Germany. In 2020, he was nominated as the SPD’s candidate for Chancellor of Germany for the 2021 federal election.

Scholz has already backed a general vaccine mandate, which would see all German residents having to get immunized for Covid-19, but he also said that the lawmakers should decide according to their principles.

Scholz joined the SPD in 1975 as a student, where he got involved with the Jusos, the youth organization of the SPD. From 1982 to 1988, he was Deputy Federal Juso Chairman, and from 1987 to 1989 also Vice President of the International Union of Socialist Youth. 

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The political views of the new leader were mixed and, within the SPD, Scholz is widely viewed as being from the moderate wing of the party. Because of his consistent and mechanical-sounding choice of words in press conferences and interviews, Scholz was nicknamed “the Scholzomat” by the media. In 2013 he said that he found the attribution “very appropriate”.