The lower house of the German Bundestag has elected the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz as the new Federal Chancellor, at the head of a three-party coalition that also includes Greens and Liberals and has ended Angela Merkel’s 16 years of uninterrupted power.
The traffic light coalition, as the alliance of the SPD, Greens and FDP is called, won 395 votes in the Bundestag this Wednesday, enough to surpass Scholz on the threshold of 369 when he had to be appointed new chancellor.
Scholz, 63, will take over the main government position after his term in office as “number two” and as coalition minister in the “grand coalition” with Merkel, which has since been dissolved and did not seek re-election in the parliamentary elections in September.
Scholz becomes the ninth Federal Chancellor of Germany since the Second World War. This happened in the presence of the last Social Democratic leader, Gerhard Schröder, who was invited to parliament during the vote.
His top short-term priorities include containing the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as international challenges such as escalating tensions with Russia due to its growing presence on the Ukrainian border.