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In German leadership race, ‘Boring Olaf’ bets on craving for stability By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, a candidate for the Chancellery, makes a statement after he has left a Finance inquiry commission at the German Parlament or Bundestag, Berlin, Germany on September 20, 2021. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi/Fil

BERLIN (Reuters) – Throughout his campaign to become Germany’s chancellor, Social Democrat Olaf Scholz has told voters his experience and steadfastness make him Angela Merkel’s natural successor.

The 63-year old finance minister is often called “boring” but he has shown himself to be a man who is able to take action and get things done.

Brigitte, a women’s magazine reported that he said that he was applying to become chancellor and not to be a circus master.

He appears to have succeeded in his plan. The vice chancellor and former Hamburg mayor is the frontrunner in Sunday’s national election, with opinion polls putting the Social Democrats ahead of the conservatives even though their rivals have narrowed the gap.

Despite an attack by conservative candidate Armin Laschet on his record on tackling money laundering in the third and final televised debate, a snap poll showed Scholz won to take a clean sweep of the debates.

Merkel will not be seeking another term, despite 16 years in office as chancellor.

Scholz is not promising stability and continuity, but he has distanced himself from conservatives. He says they have been too cozy with business and he promises, if elected, to increase the minimum wage, tighten rent controls and maintain high public investment in greener, more digital infrastructure.

The International Monetary Fund has praised Scholz’s response to the coronavirus epidemic as finance minister. Scholz’s 3-1/2 year tenure saw him abandon balanced budgets in the home, and he helped to create the European Union pandemic recovery fund. This was despite Merkel’s resistance.

Scholz, along with France, also led efforts to establish a global corporate tax minimum and tax rules that apply only to technology giants.

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