German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz is following in Angela Merkel’s long footsteps.
Updated yesterday 16:02
The Social Democrats, the Greens and the Free Democrats have agreed on a new government in Germany, and on Wednesday afternoon they will present a new German government platform.
It has now also been formally decided that the Social Democrats’ chancellor candidate, Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz, will take over the post of Prime Minister.
The Social Democratic SPD became the largest party in the German election, and has since September 26 negotiated with the Green Party and the market liberal party Fridemokratene (FDP) to form a majority government.
According to Scholz, the negotiations were conducted in a “friendly but intense atmosphere,” writes the writer AP.
– An atmosphere full of trust.
Scholz takes over from Angela Merkel, who has been Chancellor of Germany since 2005.
Even if the decision comes now, it has long been in the cards that the Minister of Finance should take over the levers: Even before the election, German election forecasts indicated that Scholz was best placed to become the new chancellor. In September, he also stayed congratulations by the Norwegian Prime Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, for the strong election result.
The traffic light coalition
The cooperation between the three parties is known as the traffic light coalition, as there is talk of a red, a green and a yellow party. There are major political differences, especially between the Greens and the liberal FDP, writes NTB.
The Greens will lead the Ministry of Climate and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while the Free Democrats will control the Ministry of Finance. According to AFP, party leader Christian Lindner for the FDP will probably become finance minister, while Annalena Baerbock, one of the Greens’ two leaders, will be Germany’s first female foreign minister.
Her co-leader, Robert Habeck, will lead a new climate ministry.
To phase out coal by 2030
It is clear that the FDP’s demand not to increase taxes or government spending has been met, while the Greens and the SPD have gained support for extensive climate initiatives. The parties also agree that coal will be phased out by 2030, eight years earlier than originally planned. Germany is heavily dependent on coal, which accounts for around a third of the country’s energy needs.
In addition, the parties are in favor of legalizing cannabis in regulated forms. Both of these promises are considered victories for the Greens, who made great progress in the election, according to NTB.
The coalition has also agreed to, among other things, increase freight transport by 25 percent, and to get at least 15 million electric cars on the road by 2030. Other points The new government agreement states, among other things, that they aim to build 400,000 new apartments a year to combat the housing crisis, lower the age limit for voting to 16, and create a points-based immigration system to bring in qualified workers.
Scholz has been finance minister and deputy prime minister since 2018 and is expected to take over from Angela Merkel on December 6. Before that time, the coalition agreement must go through a referendum among all the Greens’ members and be approved by the national meetings of the other two parties.
If this happens, Merkel will miss the record as the longest-serving prime minister in the country, by a few days’ margin.
So far, Helmut Kohl holds the record. He led Germany as prime minister from 1982 to 1998, and was behind German reunification when the former GDR entered the Federal Republic in 1990.
Did not re-elect
The news of the agreement between the three parties came at the same time as Merkel held what will probably be her last government meeting. On that occasion, Scholz gave a bouquet of flowers to the outgoing chancellor.
Government negotiations began on 21 October. If Scholz is formally installed according to plan, they will have spent 73 days forming a new government. After the 2017 election, it took 171 days for Merkel to form a new government, because one of the parties withdrew from the negotiations
The Social Democratic Party SPD was the largest in the German election, with 25.7 percent of the vote. Angela Merkel’s conservative party fell sharply and ended up in second place with 24.1 percent. In third place came the Greens with 14.8 percent. FDP finished in fourth place with 11.5 percent, according to NTB.
Merkel did not seek re-election, and the party is now trying to find a new party leader and to rise again after their worst election result ever.