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Why Merkel’s Exit Matters Beyond Germany


Key to the puzzle are parties that either want to restore Germany’s traditional budget prudence — relaxed during the pandemic to unleash waves of aid — or expand borrowing to help finance the transition to a more climate-friendly and technologically advanced economy. The center-left Social Democrats, led by Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, gained in the polls from mid-August. Scholz’s SPD has signaled a continuation of generous spending after the pandemic, though both he and Merkel’s center-right bloc say a constitutional limit on adding too much debt should be eventually reinstated. A 63-year-old former Hamburg mayor and trained labor lawyer, Scholz has a similar low-key pragmatism to Merkel, who remains by far Germany’s most popular politician. 

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