Hamburg Elections

A Merkel Challenger in the Making

A possible contender to Chancellor Angela Merkel?
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The Social Democrats need leaders like Mr. Scholz who deliver results.

  • Facts


    • Mr. Scholz, a Social Democrat, has been the mayor of Hamburg since 2011.
    • His achievements include a budget surplus, a balanced budget, the construction of new housing and free daycare.
    • Until now, he has governed the city with a large majority.
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Olaf Scholz, on the campaign trail, has just spent half an hour talking about his achievements. His four-year term as mayor of the city-state Hamburg is coming to end and he wants voters to know why they need to re-elect him on Sunday.

There are several reasons, he is quick to point out: an estimated budget surplus of €400 million, or $453 million; a balanced budget; 6,000 new residential units being approved each year – a third of them publicly subsidized; free daycare slots and free university tuition; and €3 billion earmarked for school and university construction.

Mr. Scholz, 56, has also been a force in efforts to reform Germany’s inter-state fiscal adjustment system but is reluctant to discuss details or proposals. He hopes the negotiating parties in the federal and state governments will reach an agreement on the basic rules of a new inter-state fiscal adjustment by summer.

Nor does the mayor shy away from the problems he has encountered, like the deepening of the Elbe River waterway for big ships, and issues with the state-owned HSH Nordbank.

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