- Sputnik International, 1920
Get the latest news from around the world, live coverage, off-beat stories, features and analysis.

From Lawyer to Chancellor: Scholz Marks 1st Year in Office as Polls Show Many Unhappy With His Work

© AFP 2023 / JOHN MACDOUGALLGerman Chancellor Olaf Scholz thanks cabinet members, after a year of the governmental coalition, on December 7, 2022, during a meeting of the German cabinet at the chancellery in Berlin
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz thanks cabinet members, after a year of the governmental coalition, on December 7, 2022, during a meeting of the German cabinet at the chancellery in Berlin - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.12.2022
One of the latest opinion polls shows that more than 50 percent of Germans are dissatisfied with Chancellor Olaf Scholz's work. In March, the figure stood at 39 percent.
Exactly a year ago, Olaf Scholz became Chancellor of Germany, replacing Angela Merkel, who had been at the helm of the German government for sixteen years.
On the first anniversary of Scholz's chancellorship, let's look back at his path to political leadership and see what challenges he has faced recently as a politician.

Start of Career

The 63-year-old started his career as a lawyer specializing in labor and employment law in then-West Germany’s commercial capital Hamburg in the mid-1980s. The beginning of Scholz’s political career dates back to 1975, when he became a member of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD).
The German chancellor, who was a member of the Bundestag from 1998 to 2011, served in the Hamburg Government under First Mayor Ortwin Runde in 2001, before Scholz was elected General Secretary of the SPD in 2002.


At the time, he served alongside SPD leader and then-Chancellor Gerhard Schroder and was often tasked with selling Schroder’s economic reforms to the media. Scholz’s impassionate and almost mechanical interview style prompted the press to nickname him “Scholzomat.”
Scholz then became the SPD’s Chief Whip in the Bundestag; he entered the first government of then-chancellor Angela Merkel in 2007 as Minister of Labor and Social Affairs.

On the Way to the Chancellorship

After his party quit the government following the 2009 federal election, Scholz returned to lead the party in Hamburg, also being elected the deputy leader of the SPD. He led the party to victory in the 2011 Hamburg state election, becoming First Mayor and holding that position until 2018.
After the SDP entered the fourth government of Merkel later that year, Scholz started to work as both Minister of Finance and Vice Chancellor of Germany.
In 2020, he was nominated as the SPD's candidate for Chancellor of Germany for the September 26, 2021 federal election, which saw the party win the most seats in the Bundestag and form a "traffic light coalition" with Alliance 90/The Greens and the Free Democratic Party.
Scholz was elected and sworn in as German Chancellor by the Bundestag on December 8, 2021.

Germans Displeased With Scholz: Poll

According to recent studies, a year on, about two-thirds of Germans are displeased with the government coalition and their chancellor.
A polled conduct by the German think tank INSA in late November indicated that at least 55 percent of Germans dislike Scholz's work as the chancellor, up from 39 percent of those surveyed in March.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz smiles as he walks to a media conference at the G7 venue, Castle Elmau, in Kruen, Germany, on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.09.2022
Energy Crisis in Europe
Germans Slam Scholz’s Energy Address, Say Nation ‘on Path to Poverty’ Amid Price Hikes, Sanctions
Many blame Scholz for the energy and economic crises in his country, as well a spate of foreign policy decisions affecting the interests of German business, and insufficient attempts to influence the situation in Ukraine, where Russia's special military operation is underway.
Some politicians from the ruling German coalition have harshly criticized the government for its lack of decisiveness in supplying arms to Kiev. Scholz responded by stressing that Germany was unwilling to take action alone and did not want an escalation between NATO and Russia. The chancellor also underlined that Berlin is not and will never be a party to the Ukraine conflict.

Zeitenwende Speech

Much of criticism pertains to Scholz’s keynote speech on February 27, three day after the beginning of the Russian special operation in Ukraine, something that the chancellor called a "historic turning point" (Zeitenwende).
During the speech, he announced the creation of a special fund of 100 billion euros for the modernization of the German army and deliveries of weapons to Ukraine, a U-turn on Berlin’s longstanding policy of never sending weapons to conflict zones.
Experts, meanwhile, pointed to what they described as the chancellor's insufficiently clear position on the issue, recalling that he first delayed and then quickly agreed on providing Kiev with military hardware.
In addition, some of Scholz's government coalition partners took a hard line over his China policy, citing, in particular, his visit to Beijing in early November, something that they claimed may add to Germany's dependence on the PRC.

Franco-German Differences

A separate challenge to Scholz is current tensions between him and French President Emmanuel Macron, who remain at odds over an array of pressing issues, including those related to defense and economy.
A US news outlet recently reported that as for Germany’s 100 billion special fund to modernize its military, much of the money was spent on the fifth­-generation US warplane F-35 as a spate of joint Franco-German arms cooperation projects was blocked.
On economy, Paris, in particular, opposes the resumption of the construction of the Midi-Catalonia (MidCat) gas pipeline across the territories of Spain and France, something that Germany sees as a means to reduce the EU's dependence on Russian gas amid western sanctions that were slapped on Moscow shortly after it launched its ongoing special military operation in Ukraine.
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала