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Scholz is now Germany's leader, ending Merkel era

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Scholz, who served as vice chancellor and finance minister in Angela Merkel's outgoing government, is ending 16 years of conservative rule under Merkel and paving the way for a pro-European coalition government which has vowed to boost green investment.

With his down-to-earth and no-nonsense manner, Scholz will lead an unprecedented three-way ruling coalition on the federal level with the pro-spending, environmentalist Greens and the fiscally more conservative, libertarian Free Democrats (FDP) - unlikely political bedfellows in the past.

Scholz is an experienced negotiator and veteran politician who as SPD party secretary general from 2002 until 2004 defended controversial labor market reforms and social welfare cuts under former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

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