Deal to make Scholz German chancellor clears final hurdle - Albuquerque Journal

Deal to make Scholz German chancellor clears final hurdle

BERLIN — A three-party deal to form a new German coalition government under center-left leader Olaf Scholz cleared its final hurdle Monday, setting the scene for him to succeed longtime Chancellor Angela Merkel later this week.

Germany’s environmentalist Greens said their members approved the agreement reached last month, with 86% voting for it in a ballot. The other two parties — Scholz’s center-left Social Democrats and the pro-business Free Democrats — overwhelmingly backed the agreement at weekend conventions.

“We are going into a strong new government, with a very strong and diverse Cabinet, with strong tailwind from the ballot,” said Green co-leader Annalena Baerbock, who is set to become Germany’s first female foreign minister.

Her party made it clear that it sees efforts to curb climate change as the next government’s top priority. Other priorities include modernizing Europe’s biggest economy and introducing more liberal social policies.

Scholz will be elected as chancellor in parliament on Wednesday, ending the center-right Merkel’s 16-year tenure. He will need the support of at least 369 lawmakers in the 736-seat lower house. The three coalition partners have 416 seats between them, so he should be assured of a comfortable majority.

Hours before the Greens cleared the path for that vote, Scholz presented his party’s nominees for the Cabinet, completing his 17-member team.

The most closely watched appointment was that of health minister, as Germany struggles to bring down its highest coronavirus infection rates of the pandemic so far. Scholz chose Karl Lauterbach, an epidemiologist and media-savvy lawmaker who lacks executive experience but has been one of Germany’s most prominent voices urging caution and strict measures against COVID-19.

“The pandemic is far from over,” said Scholz. “Most people in this country certainly wanted the next health minister to be a specialist who can really do it well, and for him to be called Karl Lauterbach.”

German federal and state leaders last week announced tough new restrictions that largely target unvaccinated people. In a longer-term move, parliament will consider a general vaccine mandate.

Asked about the Christmas holidays, Lauterbach said “an important aim must be to bring the case numbers down so far that we can recommend travel without endangering people.”

Announcing his choices for the interior and defense portfolios, Scholz said Germany’s “security will be in the hands of strong women.”

Nancy Faeser, a lawyer who heads the party’s branch in the central state of Hesse, was an unexpected choice to become Germany’s first female interior minister, a post that includes oversight of federal police forces and the domestic intelligence agency. Faeser said a major focus will be fighting far-right extremism, which she called “the biggest threat” to the country.

Outgoing Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht will become the new defense minister.

The Greens and the Free Democrats already have named their ministers. Scholz’s vice chancellor will be Robert Habeck, who leads the Greens along with Baerbock. He will head an economy and climate ministry, a new combination.

The Greens’ five Cabinet members include Cem Ozdemir, who will become the first federal minister of Turkish origin six decades since guest workers began coming to Germany from Turkey after World War II.

A long-time vegetarian, Ozdemir said that as agriculture minister he had no plans to force a meat-free lifestyle on others and emphasized that cutting Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions should be the overarching goal for the next government.

“That’s what we’re going to be measured by,” he said.

The Greens, however, will have to overcome resistance from the Free Democrats, whose leader Christian Lindner will become finance minister and effectively the No. 3 official in the new government. Lindner’s party has a strong free market approach and successfully blocked putting a universal speed limit on German highways in the coalition agreement.

Habeck, the Greens’ co-leader and future climate minister, acknowledged he would have liked to have seen a speed limit, which experts say would be an easy way to cut emissions. But in return for allowing Germans to speed along the Autobahn, the new coalition government is committed to measures that amount to ending the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles in the 2030s, he said.

Scholz had pledged a gender-balanced Cabinet — which it is, if one doesn’t count the chancellor.


Follow AP’s coverage of Germany’s transition to a new government at

Home » News » World » Deal to make Scholz German chancellor clears final hurdle

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

taboola desktop

Man charged in June road rage death of two ...
ABQnews Seeker
Detectives have charged a man in ... Detectives have charged a man in a road rage crash that left two 14-year-old girls dead in June on Central near the Rio Grande. ...
Los Ranchos postpones discussion on moratoriums
ABQnews Seeker
Three hours of public comment dominated ... Three hours of public comment dominated a Los Ranchos de Albuquerque Board of Trustees meeting that was adjourned late Wednesday without action on hot-button ...
Garland asks court to unseal warrant for Mar-a-Lago search
The Justice Department is asking a ... The Justice Department is asking a federal court to unseal the warrant the FBI used to search the Mar-a-Lago estate of former President Donald ...
RRPD locates vehicle, detains person following police shooting
ABQnews Seeker
Police detained the driver of a ... Police detained the driver of a SUV 'for questioning' hours after the vehicle was allegedly involved in an incident where a police vehicle was ...
Gas prices dip just below $4 for the first ...
Gasoline prices have dipped under $4 ... Gasoline prices have dipped under $4 for the first time in more than five months -- good news for consumers who are struggling with ...
Fire could impact Las Vegas water system for years
ABQnews Seeker
Las Vegas could face water issues ... Las Vegas could face water issues from the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire for the next decade, city and state officials said Wednesday. The fire ...
Cemeteries lament bathing, camps on grounds
ABQnews Seeker
Administrators say homeless people cause additional ... Administrators say homeless people cause additional challenges, expense
Accused killer had been asked to leave mosque
ABQnews Seeker
Incident of slashed tires in the ... Incident of slashed tires in the parking lot in 2020 led to the request
'Excited to be back'
ABQnews Seeker
Tens of thousands of APS students ... Tens of thousands of APS students returned to school Wednesday morning
Albuquerque approves its first safe outdoor space
ABQnews Seeker
Site on Menaul near I-25 may ... Site on Menaul near I-25 may be 'life-changing' for many