The German Social Democrats have reached a coalition agreement with the Greens and the Free Liberal Democrats for the first time in the country’s history. Former Finance Minister Olaf Scholz is set to become the next Chancellor.
The new coalition deal was sealed on Tuesday, after members of all three parties voted in favor over the weekend. The Greens were the last to publish the results of their vote on Monday.
Olaf Scholz, former vice-chancellor and finance minister in Angela Merkel’s fourth cabinet, is now set to become the fourth social democratic chancellor of post-war Germany, after Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt and Gerhard Schroeder .
Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is expected to clash with her Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) allies for the first time since 2005.
Scholz’s Social Democrats are also set to take over the ministries of defense, interior and health. The latter would now be led by Karl Lauterbach, a social democratic health expert, who rose to prominence during the Covid-19 pandemic for espousing rigid views on government measures and advocating stricter lockdown policies, and made gloomy predictions.
New Chancellor Scholz himself has expressed support for compulsory vaccination in Germany and called on MPs to table such a bill before the end of the year.
The Greens’ candidate for chancellor in the September elections and party co-chair, Annalena Baerbock, will become Germany’s new foreign minister. His co-leader of the Greens, Robert Habeck, is on the way to becoming a “super minister” and control economic, climate and energy policies. The leader of the Free Democrats, Christian Lindner, will assume the post of finance minister.
The coalition agreement was first unveiled by all three parties at the end of November under the slogan “Dare to make more progress.” The tripartite bloc is committed to modernizing Europe’s largest economy by investing heavily to modernize national infrastructure and develop green industries.
As part of the deal, the new government plans to make it easier for migrants to apply for German passports and allow dual citizenship, but also to introduce a points-based immigration system. Other policies include phasing out coal by 2030 and getting up to 80% of the country’s energy from renewable sources, as well as raising the minimum wage, tackling the housing crisis , lower the voting age to 16 and legalize the regulated sale of cannabis.
The September elections saw a major shift in the German political landscape as the Social Democrats declared a narrow victory over the center-right CDU in a close race, following Angela Merkel’s four consecutive terms as chancellor . The longtime leader has decided not to run for a fifth term.