Olaf Scholz confirmed as German Chancellor

Olaf Scholz has been confirmed as German chancellor, leading a three-party government that takes over from Angela Merkel after 16 years in office, the BBC reports.

He was voted in by the German parliament, where his coalition has a substantial majority.

Mr Scholz’s new government is formed of his Social Democrat party along with the with Greens and Free Democrats.

The handover of power marks an end to Mrs Merkel’s 31-year political career.

Mr Scholz, a soft-spoken 63-year-old, steered the Social Democrats to election victory in late September, positioning himself as continuity candidate because he played a key role in the Merkel government as vice-chancellor.

He was given an ovation after the German parliament, the Bundestag, backed him by 395 votes to 303 and he will now go to see President Frank-Walter Steinmeier before returning at midday (11:00 GMT) to be sworn in.

Since the election his party has worked with the Greens and business-friendly Free Democrats on a coalition deal, which was finally signed on Tuesday. He is set to take over from Mrs Merkel at 15:00.

The new government has ambitious plans to fight climate change by phasing out coal early and focusing on renewable energy, but their initial priority will be on tackling the coronavirus pandemic. Health authorities have recorded another 69,601 cases in the past 24 hours and a further 527 deaths – the highest number since last winter.

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