Social Democrat, Green and liberal parties agree to form German government after two months of talks

Germany’s Social Democrat, Green and liberal parties have presented a deal to form a new government, with Olaf Scholz, the finance minister, succeeding Angela Merkel as chancellor.

The three parties, known as the “traffic light coalition” owing to their colours – red, green and yellow – hammered out the deal during two months of intense negotiations after the Social Democrats (SPD) won a slim margin in the 26 September national election.

Scholz, of the Social Democrats, will be the new chancellor, Annalena Baerbock of the Greens will become foreign minister, and Robert Habeck, her partner as co-leader of the party, will receive a new “super minister” role combining the economics ministry with environmental protection goals.

Christian Lindner, leader of the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), will become the new finance minister. Hubertus Heil of the SPD is reported to be the only minister from the old government – a grand coalition between the SPD and Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU – who will retain his post, as labour minister.

It will be the first three-way alliance on a national level in German history and the first to put tackling the climate emergency, which will be a priority in each of the ministries, at the top of its agenda.

The parties are reported to have agreed to commit to phasing out coal by 2030, in principle to outlaw combustion engines, and to end gas power generation by 2040. But its most immediate challenge will be to control Germany’s worst wave of Covid-19 since the pandemic began, especially increasing the number of vaccinations.

It will be one of Germany’s youngest governments, in terms of its members’ ages.

The new government is expected to be sworn in during the week of 6 December. Before that, the coalition agreement has to be approved at the SPD and FDP party conferences, while the Greens will put it to a members’ vote, a 10-day process expected to start on Thursday.

So far there is no comment by former Chancellor Merkel particularly if she would play any role in shadow given the fact that she held the reigns of power for 16 years  and particularly during the last two ones with the challenges of the pandemic.

/ with The Guardian