Angela Merkel’s 16-year reign has ended with a new chancellor – Social Democrat Olaf Scholz – taking office. The former finance minister in Merkel’s most recent government was officially elected by MPs on Wednesday.
He received 395 votes in support of his candidacy. Scholz needed the support of at least 369 lawmakers – an absolute majority – out of 736 Bundestag MPs. His three-party coalition government holds 416 of the German Parliament’s Lower House seats.
His election marks a major turning point in Germany’s political landscape, following 16 years of uninterrupted rule for Merkel’s conservative bloc, which was joined by either the Social Democrats or the Free Democrats during her four terms as chancellor.
Scholz is the fourth Social Democratic leader of the government in the nation’s post-war history.