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11 Aug 2020, 12:22
Benjamin Wehrmann

Chancellor candidate Scholz says rapid transformation towards sustainability is key election topic

SPD chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz is currently Germany's Finance Minister. Photo: © Bundesministerium der Finanzen / Photothek / Xander Heinl.

Clean Energy Wire

The German Social Democrats (SPD) will make the transformation towards a more sustainable economy a key topic of their campaign for the 2021 general elections, the SPD's freshly nominated candidate for chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has said. Halting human-made climate change would be an "indispensable task that has to be resolved at a high pace”, Scholz said at a press conference on his nomination on Monday. The current finance minister and vice chancellor stressed that Germany's strong industrial basis is and remains to be an asset that the country has to protect. He argued that the "decent jobs and leading companies" could only be preserved in the 21st century "if we manage to come up with a technologic restart with renewable energies and a hydrogen economy" rooted in solid European cooperation. To achieve this end, he announced that his party would seek to establish a "future programme for the 2020s". "We want a new era that is going to be better than the one we currently have," Scholz said. He assured that the SPD's main competitor in the upcoming election would still be the conservative CDU/CSU alliance and not the Greens, with whom the Social Democrats on the one hand vie for votes in the progressive camp but on the other hand also are most likely to form a coalition government, should the result open the door for that.

The SPD leadership nominated Scholz as the party's candidate for chancellor earlier this week, marking the first major move from one of the country's larger parties in preparation for the parliamentary election in autumn 2021. The SPD has been in a so-called grand coalition government with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative alliance for eleven out of Merkel's 15 years in office, but Scholz said his party would not wish to continue this cooperation after 2021 and instead strived for a left-leaning coalition of the SPD, Greens and Left Party under the Social Democrat's leadership. While the Left Party has generally signalled its readiness for this tripartite model, the Greens have not yet clearly stated any preferences for a possible coalition, keeping their options open for a cooperation with the CDU/CSU alliance, which contrary to a SPD-Green-Left government would have a majority among voters, according to the latest polls.

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