Olaf Scholz, a reassuring German chancellor

Berlin, June 24, 2020. Two advisers from Olaf Scholz receive The world at the Ministry of Finance. Subject of the meeting: the recovery plan that Germany and France wish to have adopted by the Twenty-Seven at the European Council in July to deal with the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. The interview, which lasts nearly two hours, ends with a brief exchange on the German political situation, fourteen months before the legislative elections of September 2021 and the announced departure of Angela Merkel.

Asked how they imagine the campaign to come, the two collaborators of the Minister of Finance explain that a man, according to them, has every chance of becoming chancellor: their boss. At the start of summer 2020 when the Social Democratic Party (SPD) is credited with only 15% of the vote, while the conservatives (CDU-CSU) are close to 40% and the Greens are given 20%, the he hypothesis seems most hazardous.

The two advisers are however very serious: in their eyes, the voting intentions in favor of the CDU-CSU are first and foremost a reflection of the popularity of Angela Merkel. But this one having decided not to represent itself, “Voters will look to the one who embodies the success of the current government”, affirm the two faithful of the minister, for whom the latter has a major asset: “In this time of great uncertainty, the Germans will choose stability and continuity. This is precisely what Olaf Scholz embodies. “

“Very determined, very methodical”

A year and a half later, the bet is on the way to being won. On Wednesday 8 December, Olaf Scholz, 63, is to be elected Federal Chancellor by the deputies of the Bundestag, following a ballot, the result of which is beyond doubt: as provided for in Article 63 of the Basic Law, the Chancellor only needs a simple majority, ie 369 votes, to be elected. But Olaf Scholz should have a little fifty more if, as expected, the three parties that will constitute his “traffic light” coalition vote for him: the SPD (206 elected), the Greens (118) and the Liberal Democrats of the FDP (92).

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A few months ago, such a scenario would have seemed unlikely. Sign that does not deceive: it is only Monday, December 6, two days before his inauguration, that the first biography which is dedicated to him was released in bookstores, signed by journalist Lars Haider (Olaf Scholz. Der Weg zur Macht, “The Way of Power”, Klartext, untranslated). As if no one had imagined a national destiny for one who was nonetheless a member of the Bundestag practically without interruption from 1998 to 2011, twice federal minister (of labor, from 2007 to 2009, and of finance, since 2018), and mayor of Hamburg (2011-2018), the second most populous city in Germany.

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