Olaf Scholz: Germany’s Next Chancellor Will Be Slow But Stable.


Olaf Scholz: Germany’s Next Chancellor Will Be Slow But Stable.

Olaf Scholz, a Social Democrat who has been described as austere and even robotic, managed to inspire German voters in this year’s election with a campaign that capitalized on his reputation as a safe pair of hands.

Scholz, 63, is on the verge of becoming Germany’s next chancellor after guiding his party to a stunning victory in September’s election, which will relieve Angela Merkel of her responsibilities after 16 years.

On Wednesday, he presented a deal for Germany’s next government with the heads of the environmentalist Greens and the liberal FDP.

The Social Democrats (SPD) had started the election campaign at the bottom of the polls, with many dismissing Scholz’s chances of becoming chancellor — to the point where he lacks an official biography.

Scholz, on the other hand, pulled off a surprise shock by pitching himself as the greatest candidate to carry Merkel’s legacy forward, even mimicking her famous “rhombus” hand signal on the cover of a magazine.

He also avoided embarrassing gaffes during a campaign that capitalized on his reputation as a quiet workhorse, adopting the tagline “Scholz will sort it.”

Scholz has been methodically working his way up the ranks since the 1970s, once dubbed by Der Spiegel magazine as “the epitome of ennui in politics.”

Born in the northern city of Osnabrueck, he joined the SPD’s youth movement in 1975 and was photographed wearing wool sweaters and an untidy crop of long hair during numerous peace marches.

In the 1980s, he rose to the position of vice-president of the movement but was unable to become its leader due to criticism that he was too left-wing, but he eventually came to prefer a more moderate path.

Scholz was voted to the national parliament in 1998 after training as a lawyer and launching his own labor law practice in 1985 — now without the hair.

During his time as the SPD’s general secretary from 2002 to 2004, he got the moniker “Scholzomat” for his dry but unwavering defense of then-chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s unpopular labor reforms.

Scholz confessed in a recent interview with Bunte magazine that “it was surely not an altogether incorrect description,” despite not like the label.

“I was usually asked the same questions and gave the same responses,” he added, adding that he “laughing more than people think.”

Scholz served as the labor minister in Merkel’s first coalition administration, from 2007 to 2009, and was instrumental in preventing mass layoffs during the financial crisis by persuading businesses to reduce employee hours. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.


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