Merkel hands over reins to Scholz Dec 09, 2021 0 0 12345 dpaBerlinAngela Merkel’s 16-year career as German chancellor came to an end on Wednesday as she handed over to her successor Olaf Scholz at the chancellery in Berlin.“Take ownership of this house and work for the best of our country,” Merkel told her successor and former deputy.The long-serving chancellor, who has been a dominant figure in European and global politics, warned Scholz that the job could be challenging. “But if you approach it with joy, it is perhaps one of the most beautiful tasks there is to bear responsibility for this country.” Scholz will lead a centre-left government comprising his Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) in a three-way “traffic light” coalition - named on account of the party colours - the first of its kind at federal level.After a vote in the Bundestag that went overwhelmingly along party lines, Scholz went to the presidential Bellevue palace, where President Frank-Walter Steinmeier formally appointed him chancellor.He then returned to the Bundestag to be sworn in.The 16 incoming ministers - eight men and eight women with seven from the SPD, five from the Greens and four from the FDP - then went through a similar process.Scholz, 63, garnered 395 of the 707 votes cast in the secret ballot, well above the 369-vote majority required in the 736-seat Bundestag.The SPD, together with their partners, the Greens and the FDP, have 416 seats in the new parliament elected in September. Calculations by party officials indicated that at least 15 members of the three parties had not voted for Scholz.Merkel was in the Bundestag to watch the vote, seating herself in the section reserved for guests of the house. On being welcomed by the Bundestag president, all the lawmakers stood to give her a warm round of applause, apart from the 83 members of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).New Chancellor to lead centre-left government of Social Democrats, the Greens and the Free Democrats Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Biden wants to boost Ukrainian defences against Russia Dec 09, 2021 0 0 Beijing Games diplomatic boycott gains support Dec 09, 2021 0 0 Putin rejects accusation of possible invasion of Ukraine Dec 09, 2021 0 0 Boosters could be needed for ‘years to come’, says Pfizer official London People are likely to need Covid-19 booster shots “for a number of years to come”, a Pfizer boss has said. Ben Osborn, country manager for the pharmaceutical firm in the UK, said that it was not yet clear whether future .. Another body found on Polish-Belarusian border amid migrant crisis Warsaw Soldiers found the body of another migrant in Poland’s border region with Belarus, where thousands of people from crisis regions have been stranded in recent weeks in sub-zero temperatures. The soldiers found .. European Commission plans a new policy to deter economic threats Brussels The European Commission wants to set up a new sanctions instrument to shield EU member states from economic intimidation “at a time of rising geopolitical tensions.” European Commissioner for Trade Valdis .. Immigration reforms clear Britain’s Commons amid chaotic scenes dpa London The British government’s flagship immigration legislation has cleared the House of Commons amid chaotic scenes and claims of “anti-democratic” tactics from opposition MPs. MPs gave the Nationality and .. Johnson apologises after reports of Christmas party despite lockdown London British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered an investigation on Wednesday amid claims Downing Street staff broke lockdown rules by holding a Christmas party last year. He told lawmakers he was “furious” about ..