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Olaf Scholz to be sworn in as German chancellor on Wednesday, leading a three-party government that takes over from Angela Merkel after 16 years in office.

Olaf Scholz to be sworn in as German chancellor on Wednesday, leading a three-party government that takes over from Angela Merkel after 16 years in office.

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Olaf Scholz
Olaf Scholz to be sworn in as German chancellor on Wednesday, leading a three-party government that takes over from Angela Merkel after 16 years in office.—

The German parliament, where his coalition has a substantial majority, will first vote him into office

His new government is formed of Social Democrats, Greens and Free Democrats.

The handover of power also 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.

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After the vote in the German parliament, the Bundestag, he will 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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First elected in December 1990, Angela Merkel was immediately given a ministerial job by then Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

But she then helped oust him and became Christian Democrat leader in 2000, before becoming chancellor herself in November 2005.

She will still have an office close to the Bundestag, in a flat that was once used by Margot Honecker, once dubbed the most powerful woman in communist East Germany.

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