Olaf Scholz Elected Chancellor of Germany, Ending 16 Years of Merkel

BERLIN, GERMANY - DECEMBER 08: New German Chancellor Olaf Scholz takes his oath of office
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The Social Democratic Party’s Olaf Scholz has been elected Chancellor of Germany, marking the end of Angela Merkel’s 16-year reign.

Olaf Scholz, who was elected Chancellor of Germany on Wednesday, will lead a so-called “Traffic Light” coalition of left-wing parties, the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD, red), the Green Party, and the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP, yellow).

The SPD-led coalition replaces Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) led government, finally putting an end to her 16 years in power.

In a vote in the German Bundestag, Scholz received 395 votes to be elected to the position, having required 369, according to a report by Deutsche Welle. Merkel watched the vote from the visitor’s stands, the former chancellor no longer a member of parliament.

Merkel’s nominally centre-right chancellorship was often extremely controversial, being an ever-present figure during the 2008 economic crash, as well as the bailouts of Greece and Ireland.

Merkel also presided over a regime defined by the censorship of so-called “hate speech“, with her government making measures to force internet service providers to hand over data and passwords of those engaging in hate speech online.

The chancellor herself was no fan of freedom of speech, keen to emphasise its limits to the German parliament, saying in late 2019 that “expressing an opinion does not come at zero cost!”

Her involvement in the COVID crisis has also become a central point of controversy. The chancellor pushed for forced vaccination very late in her term, despite a similar regime being put in place in Austria being labelled “Corona Apartheid”.

Merkel’s legacy however will no doubt be that of mass migration, when in the summer of 2015, she invited migrants to come to Germany, with almost one million arriving, mostly from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

The architect of the European Migrant Crisis, Merkel’s policy towards migrants was even criticised by open borders advocate George Soros for being too lax.

Merkel’s open-borders approach to dealing with the crisis preceded a spike in terrorism, with anti-vehicle barriers quickly becoming a feature within European cities in response to attacks, notably the terror attack in 2016 by bogus Tunisian asylum seeker and Islamist Anis Amri, who mowed a stolen lorry through on a Berlin Christmas market, leaving 13 dead.

Germany itself suffered badly over Merkel’s policy, with over 1,300 women claiming to be victims of the mass sex attacks which occurred on New Year’s Eve in Cologne in 2015 by men of North African and Arabic backgrounds. Deutsche Welle admitted last year that the German media and police had been accused of being reluctant to report on the citizenship of the suspects. While other reports during Merkel’s leadership claimed that the Interior Ministry had advised police in other parts of Germany to conceal details of migrant involvement in crime as it could “stir up prejudice”.

Despite the widespread negative effects of her work on the crisis, Merkel has not expressed regret over her policy choices, saying during an interview last year that she would “make essentially the same decisions” if she had to do it all again.

While there is no doubt that many are glad to see the last of Chancellor Merkel, for Germany, and indeed Europe, the start of this new era may be a case of stepping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Even before Chancellor Scholz’s election to his new position, he has already been involved in expanding lockdown measures in Germany, he himself being in favour of mandatory vaccination against the Chinese coronavirus.

Scholz is also a committed Eurofederalist, coming out in favour of an EU army, calling it a “part of the idea of ​​European sovereignty”.

The SPD leader is also set to lead a coalition with a strong commitment to climate extremism, lockdowns, and Eurofederalism, as set out by a 177-page agreement between the three parties involved.

In particular, the new government is set to pursue what has been dubbed the United States of Europe, through the creation of an EU superstate.

The government has agreed to pursue the “necessary treaty changes” needed to “lead developments to a European federal state”, and has put Green Party head Annalena Baerbock at the helm of the project.

The lockdown-loving Karl Lauterbach, meanwhile, is to be the health minister of the new government. While lacking experience, the epidemiologist has championed strict measures since the early days of the COVID crisis and continues to support stringent measures in order to lower numbers in the country.


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