“BERLIN — For the first time in nearly 16 years, Angela Merkel is not the chancellor of Germany. Her Social Democrat successor, Olaf Scholz, was sworn in around noon on Wednesday local time, after the Bundestag, the German parliament, voted him into office.
It has been a long road getting here. Merkel, a conservative Christian Democrat, has been treated to send-offs, both formal and informal, at home and abroad. Despite four terms in office — a reign that predates the iPhone — Merkel is leaving less than two weeks shy of the record for longest chancellorship. That’s held by Helmut Kohl, Merkel’s party mentor who oversaw German reunification in 1990.
She is the first German chancellor to retire, rather than lose, and one of the few heads of government to plan her exit from political life. On Wednesday, from her seat in the parliament’s visitor gallery, Merkel received a lengthy standing ovation from lawmakers and other officials before voting began.”
“A dominant era of German politics ended on Wednesday as Angela Merkel handed over the chancellery to her successor, opening a new chapter for Europe’s biggest democracy.
For the first time in 16 years, Germany will now have a center-left government led by a new chancellor. And that leader, Olaf Scholz, finds himself in the difficult spot of trying to live up to the high expectations set by Ms. Merkel, under whose stewardship Germany became Europe’s leading power for the first time in modern history.
For over a decade, Ms. Merkel steered her country and the continent through a series of crises. She leaves power after a drawn-out goodbye — she announced in 2018 that she would not seek re-election — and as the most popular politician in her nation.
On Wednesday, as lawmakers gathered in Parliament to confirm Mr. Scholz as chancellor, Ms. Merkel was greeted with a standing ovation that lasted almost a minute. She then took a seat in the visitors’ gallery.”
“Olaf Scholz has been been sworn in as Germany’s new chancellor, formally taking power after Angela Merkel’s historic 16 years as leader.
He promised he would do all he could to work towards a new start for Germany.
As she left the chancellery, ending a 31-year political career, Mrs Merkel told her former vice-chancellor to approach the task “with joy”.”
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