German lawmakers elected Social Democrat Olaf Scholz as Germany‘s new chancellor on Wednesday, ending 16 years of conservative rule under Angela Merkel and paving the way for a pro-European government that has promised to boost green investment, according to Reuters.
“Scholz, 63, who over the past four years served as vice-chancellor and finance minister in coalition with Merkel, got a clear majority of 395 votes from lawmakers in the lower house of parliament,” said Bundestag President, Baerbel Bas.
Scholz was formally nominated by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in the nearby Bellevue Palace before returning to parliament to take the oath of office in front of lawmakers and become Germany’s ninth chancellor since the end of World War Two.
Back in Bellevue Palace, the ministers of the new cabinet received their appointment certificates from the president.
In the afternoon, Merkel will officially hand over the chancellery to Scholz as the country faces a brutal fourth wave of coronavirus infections and challenges to its democratic order from authoritarian governments.
Scholz will lead an unprecedented three-way ruling coalition on the federal level with the pro-spending, environmentalist Greens and the fiscally more conservative, libertarian Free Democrats (FDP) – unlikely political bedfellows in the past.