After 16 years under Angela Merkel's leadership, Germany's new chancellor, Olaf Scholz, was sworn into office on Wednesday.
Scholz, a 63-year-old who served as Merkel's finance minister, took power when a coalition among his own Social Democratic Party, the environmentalist Greens, and the business-friendly Free Democratic Party was elected to the majority of seats in parliament last month. His government takes office with high hopes of modernizing Germany and combating climate change.
“We are venturing a new departure, one that takes up the major challenges of this decade and well beyond that,” Scholz said this week.
GERMANY IMPLEMENTS LOCKDOWN FOR UNVACCINATED, MULLS VACCINE MANDATE
The new government will be further left politically than under Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union leadership and aims to lower carbon emissions by expanding the use of renewable energy and bringing Germany’s exit from coal-fired power forward from 2038 to 2030 “ideally.”
The new government also wants to increase Germany’s minimum wage, build hundreds of thousands of new apartments to curb rising rental prices, legalize the sale of cannabis for recreational purposes, and improve the country's cellphone and internet networks.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER
“Take possession of this house and work with it for the good of our country,” Merkel said to Scholz at the handover ceremony. He thanked Merkel and said, “You made your mark on this country.”
Merkel, 67, said in 2018 she would step down from leading the Christian Democratic Union and would not seek reelection.