Germany officially elected Olaf Scholz Chancellor of the country, ending Angela Merkel’s 16-year reign.
Lawmakers voted on Wednesday by 395-303 to elect Scholz as chancellor, with six abstentions. He becomes the ninth ruler of the country after World War II.
He traded punches with his colleagues and will be appointed chancellor by the German president and sworn in by the speaker of parliament later on Wednesday.
Ms Merkel, who is no longer a Member of Parliament, watched from the spectators’ stand the votes of the deputies. Lawmakers gave him a standing ovation at the start of the session.
Mr Scholz’s government takes office with high hopes of modernizing Germany and tackling climate change, but faces the immediate challenge of dealing with the country’s most difficult phase to date of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 63-year-old is at the head of an unprecedented coalition of his center-left social democrats, green environmentalists and pro-business free democrats.
The three parties present their union of former rivals as a progressive alliance that will bring new energy to the country after Merkel’s near record time in power.
“We are embarking on a new beginning, which addresses the great challenges of this decade and well beyond,” Scholz said on Tuesday.
If the parties are successful, he added, “it is a mandate to be re-elected together in the next elections.”
The new government aims to step up efforts against climate change by expanding the use of renewable energy and by advancing Germany’s exit from coal-fired power plants from 2038, “ideally” to 2030.
He also wants to do more to modernize the country, including improving its notoriously poor mobile phone and internet networks.
It also provides for more liberal social policies, including legalizing the sale of recreational cannabis and easing the path to German citizenship while pledging to redouble efforts to deport immigrants who fail to obtain the right. asylum.
Coalition partners want to lower the voting age in national elections from 18 to 16.
The Independent Gt