Olaf Scholz to succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor

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Olaf Scholz would become Germany’s next chancellor when his centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) finalized a deal with the Greens and pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) to form a new governing coalition.

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why it matters: Scholz, who serves as finance minister and chancellor in the current coalition, will lead Europe’s largest economy in the post-Merkel era.

big picture: Three months after the SPD announced a surprise comeback victory in Germany’s elections, defeating the conservative bloc, which had led the government for 16 years under Angela Merkel.

  • Scholz is seen as a stable, seasoned politician who is not expected to radically change Germany’s foreign policy.
  • He campaigned for raising the minimum wage, tackling climate change and strengthening the European Union, and garnered a far stronger approval rating than Merkel’s chosen successor, Armin Lasquet.

zoom in: While Scholz has long been expected to be the next chancellor – he accompanied Merkel in her meetings with foreign leaders at the G20 last month – the various portfolios in the strange Bedfellows’ coalition were revealed only on Wednesday.

  • The chancellor candidate for the Greens, Annalena Berbock, will be foreign minister. Party co-leader Robert Hebeck will be the chancellor along with Barbock.
  • The Greens campaigned on a human rights-focused foreign policy and have been highly critical of Russia and China, as opposed to the more measured, less confrontational approaches favored by both Merkel and Scholz.
  • Christian Lindner, who leads the financially conservative FDP, will be finance minister. His party supports lower taxes, which could prove to be a stumbling block as the SPD and Greens push for massive investments to address climate change.


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