The German parliament elected Olaf Scholz as the country’s ninth chancellor after World War II. With this, a new era has begun in the most densely populated country of the European Union after 16 years in office of Angela Merkel. The Scholz government is set to take office amid high hopes of modernizing Germany and fighting climate change, but the challenge facing the country is to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Scholz received the support of 395 lawmakers on Wednesday. Their three-party alliance has 416 seats in the 736-seat lower house of parliament. Germany’s president will formally announce Scholz’s name as chancellor and the speaker of parliament will administer the oath to him today. Merkel, who is no longer a member of parliament, watched the entire process from the audience gallery as parliament voted. At the commencement of the Parliament session, the MPs stood up and paid their respects to him.
‘New energy’ will come in the country
Scholz, 63, Germany’s vice chancellor and finance minister since 2018, brought experience and discipline to a coalition of Social Democrats, pro-environment Greens and pro-business Free Democrats. The three parties are projecting their alliance as a progressive coalition that will bring new energy to the country after Merkel held the office for almost a record period of time. “We risk a new departure that addresses the key challenges of this decade and beyond,” Scholz said on Tuesday.
Germany will increase the use of renewable energy
The new government aims to intensify efforts against climate change by increasing the use of renewable energy and eliminating the use of coal in Germany by 2038. It also wants to make the country more modern, including improving its poor cellphone and internet network. It also plans to introduce more liberal social policies, including legalizing the sale of cannabis for recreational purposes and easing the way for German citizenship. At the same time, he also pledged to make more efforts to send those refugees to their countries who have not been given asylum.
Intended to raise the eligible voting age from 18 to 16
Coalition allies also want to raise the eligible age to vote in national elections in the country from 18 to 16. Scholz signaled maintaining a foreign policy, saying the government would stand for a strong European Union and strengthen the Trans-Atlantic Alliance. Greens party co-leader Robert Habek will be vice chancellor. The third position of finance minister in the government will be given to Christian Lindner, who is the leader of the Free Democrats.