New center-left coalition in Germany: SPD Olaf Scholz to take over chancellorship from Angela Merkel

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Angela Merkel will step down from the position of Chancellor of Germany after 16 years of rule. However, she will not be succeeded by a member of her own ruling coalition. Instead Olaf Scholz, the candidate from the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) will be the new chancellor of the country.

Wednesday afternoon, three parties the SPD, the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Green Party announced a coalition that is expected to govern the country. Negotiations behind closed doors have been taking place from over a month after the September 26 elections. However, the leaders of the political parties did not divulge any details, till Wednesday.

The announcement not only mentioned that Olaf Scholz would be the next chancellor but also stated that the finance minister would be Christian Linder, the head of the FDP. Annalena Baerbock of the Green Party will be the Foreign Minister and Robert Habeck, also of the Green Party, will be the Economy and Climate Minister.

Scholz is expected to take over the leadership next month. Although there is some talk about change, many measures that have been taken under the leadership of Angela Merkel could remain the same. Scholz has been the finance minister under Merkel’s leadership and some say that he has adapted a similar style, after working with her for years.

The coalition, called the traffic-light coalition due to traditional party colors—Red for the SDP, yellow for the FDP and of course green for the Green Party, was expected to form the new government and strove to maintain an optimistic outlook about their talks for a coalition. However, it took five weeks of behind the scenes negotiations, following which there was a formal announcement.

After being sworn in as the German Chancellor, Scholz will not only face border tensions and shifting foreign policy but will also have to tackle the surge of COVID-19 across Germany. Europe is seeing a reemergence of coronavirus cases. The new chancellor and his administration will have to focus, once again, on vaccination drives, possible lockdowns, slowing of the economy and more.

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