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Scholz, the perfect “number 2” who became chancellor

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After Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt and Gerhard Schroeder, Olaf Scholz will be the fourth Social Democratic Chancellor of the Bundesrepublik. From today, for the next four years. And really, up until a year ago, no one would have said that. He seemed the perfect number two, before Schroeder, who called him in 2004 to defend his economic reforms – which he did with such an air that he earned the nickname “Scholz-o-mat”, to indicate his robotic trait – then Angela Merkel, who entrusted him with the management of the technicalities of the Recovery Fund, making him convincing to the left of the CDU. But Olaf Scholz was good, and with the same patience with which he made the number two of strong and bulky chancellors he managed to climb the most difficult step and position himself in first place.

Germany, Scholz is the new chancellor: standing ovation for Angela Merkel at the Bundestag

The Covid emergency brought out the best in him: the virus passed him without infecting him, and by dint of spending time on national talk shows to reassure the population about the measures taken by the government, he gained confidence, leaving that trait behind cold and woody that his opponents defined arrogant, as are the Hanseatic «durch und durch», in all respects.

Even the formation of the government, although it was long and laborious, showed no cracks: they discussed every detail at length, but the general impression is that they all came out a little stronger: the Social Democrats, who with Scholz won five percentage points of a consensus that seemed cannibalized forever by the Merkelian CDU; greens, natural allies; and even the liberals, who have shown themselves capable of mediation and willing, in order to return to the government, to polish up the most indigestible aspects of their traditional approach to the economy. Everyone made some concessions, everyone took some responsibility. A good start for Chancellor Scholz, who with a numerically strong opposition will have many opportunities to test and show the strength of his majority, unique to date in the history of the Bundesrepublik. The result is a Germany that has not entirely lost the allure of reliability of the Merkel era and yet has gained in freshness and contemporaneity on the issues and approaches.

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