Olaf Scholz has been sworn in as Germany’s new chancellor, bringing to an end Angela Merkel’s historic 16 years as leader.
He was voted in by the German parliament, where his three-party coalition has a substantial majority, and given a standing ovation.
His centre-left Social Democrats will govern alongside the Greens and the business-friendly Free Democrats.
The handover of power marks an end to Mrs Merkel’s 31-year political career.
Mr Scholz, a soft-spoken 63-year-old, steered the Social Democrats to election victory in late September, positioning himself as the continuity candidate because he played a key role in the Merkel government as vice-chancellor.
The German parliament, the Bundestag, backed his appointment by 395 votes to 303, and he was then formally appointed as the ninth federal chancellor by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
After the vote in parliament, he was asked by Bundestag President Bärbel Bas whether he accepted the appointment and said “yes”. He later returned to the Bundestag to take the oath of office and was greeted with another standing ovation.
Since the election, Mr Scholz’s party has worked with the Greens and the Free Democrats on a coalition deal, which was finally signed on Tuesday.
He is set to take over from Mrs Merkel at 15:00 local time (14:00 GMT), and will head Germany’s first 16-strong cabinet to include as many women as men.
The new government has ambitious plans to fight climate change by phasing out coal early and focusing on renewable energy, but their initial priority will be tackling the coronavirus pandemic.
Health authorities have recorded another 69,601 cases in the past 24 hours and a further 527 deaths – the highest number since last winter.
Article written by: BBC
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