With the announcement, this Wednesday (24), of the agreement of the coalition of three parties that must govern Germany for the next four years – formed by the Social Democratic (SPD), Green and Liberal Democratic (FDP) parties -, the world passes to get to know better a name that has been familiar to Germans for decades and that should end the Angela Merkel era: Olaf Scholz should be the country’s new chancellor.
Scholz, 63, born in Osnabruk, Lower Saxony, grew up in Hamburg, the city of which he was mayor for the past decade. In 1975, when he was still in high school, he joined the SPD. As a labor lawyer, he defended workers.
With socialist roots in its youth, it became less radical over the years and gained a reputation for being pragmatic and austere and nicknamed “Scholz-o-mat” (something like “Scholz-automatic”), because it would be more “robot” than what a human. As general secretary of the SPD during the administration of Gerhard Schröder (1998-2005), he defended social and labor reforms criticized by the leftmost wing of the party.
Mayor of Hamburg between 2011 and 2018, Scholz later became deputy chancellor and finance minister in the coalition between the SPD and Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) alliance, called the “grand coalition” . He was responsible for the aid package during the pandemic in Germany and also worked for the preparation of the European Union (EU) recovery fund.
In September, Scholz’s SPD won the German parliamentary elections with 25.7% of the vote, a narrow margin over Merkel’s CDU/CSU, led by Armin Laschet, who won 24.1% of the vote.
In addition to adaptability, Scholz is known for his low profile – which makes many analysts see a continuity in Merkel’s style ahead of the German Executive.
“He’s like a football player who studied another player’s videos and changed his playing style,” political analyst Robin Alexander told The New York Times. “From temperament and political style to facial expression, Scholz now ‘channels’ Merkel. If Scholz were a woman, he would wear suits.”
For Andreas Kluth, columnist for Bloomberg, Scholz’s power to adapt and conciliate will now have its greatest test, not only because of the importance of the position that will be assumed by the former mayor of Hamburg, but because the coalition that will govern Germany “will be a experiment” for the country.
“For the first time at the federal level, the Social Democrats – who produced just three of the eight postwar German chancellors – will govern with both the green environmentalists and the pro-market liberal Democrats. Social Democrats descend from 19th-century Marxism, Greens from the 1970s counterculture, and Liberal Democrats, in their current incarnation, from neoliberalism. Making this trio sing in tune will not be easy”, he warned.
This month, during Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s travels across Europe, Scholz met the former Brazilian president in Berlin. The German gave RT to a message from Lula on Twitter talking about the conversation and added a message to the PT member: “I am very satisfied with our good discussions and I hope to continue our dialogue!”
#Olaf #Scholz #chancellor #Germany