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German election 2021: Who is Social Democratic Party leader Olaf Scholz?

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By euronews
Olaf Scholz, the Social Democrats' candidate for German chancellor
Olaf Scholz, the Social Democrats' candidate for German chancellor   -   Copyright  euronews

Olaf Scholz is not considered the most charismatic of politicians in Germany and he doesn't often put himself in the spotlight. 

But the Social Democratic Party (SPD) candidate for chancellor made a splash internationally at the G20 with his proposal of a global corporate minimum tax.

On the domestic front, his statements regarding coronavirus aid programmes for the economy also hit home. He even talked of pulling out the big guns. He also doesn't mince his words when it comes to his political opponents either.

Don't believe those who tell you that after the coronavirus everything will be normal again and like before. They are wrong. But also don't believe those who think they can invent a whole new green world. They are also wrong
Olaf Scholz
SPD candidate for German chancellor

The 63-year-old was born in Osnabrück but grew up in Hamburg. He studied law and was the mayor of Hamburg from 2011 to 2018.

In his Social Democratic Party, Olaf Scholz who is part of the conservative wing, has not always had it easy. In 2019, he lost the internal party vote to become co-leader with Klara Geywitz to Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans. Both of the latter represent more left-wing positions.

In regards to his agenda, Scholz has emphasised his goal to raise the minimum wage in Germany from €9.60 an hour to €12.

He has come under criticism for his ministry's handling of the billion-euro Wirecard fraud scandal. The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), which reports to Germany's finance ministry, where Scholz is minister, allegedly did not notice the €1.9 billion missing in 2020.

Towards the end of 2019, in an interview with Euronews journalist Efi Koutsokosta, Scholz spoke out about the difficulties with the grand coalition government with the conservative CDU.

At that time he said that the SPD was in a coalition with the conservative party because it was not possible to form another government after the last elections. "Everybody knows that this is not an easy coalition and everyone knows that after the next elections there will obviously not be a continuation of the current government", he added. Despite his criticisms, he has definitely made name for himself in Angela Merkel's cabinet.

He is a candidate in Potsdam in the same constituency as Annalena Baerbock. His wife Britta Ernst is Minister of Education in Brandenburg - and, according to Scholz, wants to remain so even if he becomes Chancellor.