Olaf Scholz: the man who might replace Angela Merkel as Germany’s next chancellor

The SDP won 25.7% of the vote, whereas Angela Merkel‘s center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) took 24.1%, in response to the federal returning officer.

Whereas the tight end result means Scholz is much from sure to turn out to be Germany’s subsequent chancellor, he’s within the strongest place to begin coalition talks with the Inexperienced Celebration, which took 14.8% of the votes, and the liberal Free Democratic Celebration (FDP) with 11.5% of the vote.

Scholz has positioned himself as a pragmatist and a protected pair of arms. Actually his political type just isn’t dissimilar to that of Merkel — the 2 are alike in some ways, regardless of hailing from rival events.

“He comes throughout as calm, measured, regular,” stated Corinna Hoerst, a senior fellow on the German Marshall Fund of america (GMF) in Brussels.

Hoerst stated that as a average, Scholz is an outlier inside his celebration. “The SPD management are principally leftist leaning and initially did not help him. So we do not know but who he’ll collect round him and who will affect his management type,” she added.

Hoerst’s colleague and the deputy director of GMF’s Berlin workplace, Sudha David-Wilp, stated this centrism is one other trait Scholz shares with Merkel.

“She all the time ruled from the middle and I feel he can even attempt to try this if he does turn out to be chancellor, however it would additionally rely in fact on what coalition events demand,” she stated.

Olaf Scholz, the SPD's candidate for chancellor, on stage a day after the Bundestag elections.

The 63-year-old — a life-long member of the SPD — was born in what was then West Germany, a element that units him aside from Merkel, who grew up in East Germany.

Scholz served because the Labor and Social Affairs minister in Merkel’s first coalition authorities within the late 2000s. In 2011 he was elected mayor of Hamburg, a place he held — with excessive ranges of help — till 2018.

Since then, he has served because the vice-chancellor and finance minister in Merkel’s grand coalition authorities, a strong place in German nationwide politics.

His profile rose even additional when he oversaw Germany’s beneficiant coronavirus compensation packages for companies, workers and those that misplaced revenue as a result of they needed to quarantine in the course of the pandemic.

“He has been [Merkel’s] proper hand man in terms of main the nation over the previous 4 years … he [have played] second fiddle to Merkel, however he has great energy inside the German authorities, and in addition in Europe [where he] represents Germany in terms of Euro insurance policies,” David-Wilp stated.

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In contrast to Merkel, who has turn out to be a family title the world over throughout her lengthy tenure, Scholz just isn’t well-known overseas — past Brussels’ political circles.

Talking on Monday he stated forming a stronger and extra sovereign European Union, in addition to engaged on the great relationship between Germany and america, can be his key international coverage objectives if he does turn out to be chancellor.

He added that because the world “turns into extra harmful,” democratic international locations should cooperate. “It is necessary that we work collectively, even when we do have battle in a single or the opposite query,” he stated.

Scholz has had his share of political issues previously.

As mayor of Hamburg, he was criticized for his mishandling of violent protests that unfolded throughout a G20 assembly his metropolis hosted in 2017.

Hamburg descended into chaos during the summit, and a whole lot of law enforcement officials had been injured in clashes with protesters. Scholz had underplayed the potential danger from demonstrations, and so was blamed for town’s lack of preparation.

Because the coalition talks start, Scholz will attempt to lure within the Greens and the FDP, however such negotiations can final months.

Till then, the jury continues to be out on what sort of chancellor Scholz is perhaps.

“It will likely be a shift as a result of there is no such thing as a longer Merkel,” Hoerst stated, earlier than including: “I doubt will probably be large.”

CNN’s Frederik Pleitgen, Sugam Pokharel, Jennifer Deaton and Helen Regan contributed reporting.

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