The second-most powerful official in Germany’s new government, if the parties sign off on the coalition agreement reached early Wednesday, is likely to be a political heavyweight few people outside of Germany have ever heard of.
Yanked out of the relatively obscure post of Hamburg mayor, Social Democrat Olaf Scholz will not only take on the powerful finance minister post long occupied by Wolfgang Schäuble, but will be designated vice chancellor, a title usually reserved for the leader of the junior coalition party. The cabinet posts have not been officially announced but have been widely reported in the German media.
The great success of outgoing Social Democratic (SPD) leader Martin Schulz in the coalition talks was not only to nab those two titles for Mr. Scholz but to get the Foreign Office for himself. Although the conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel will continue to be the face of Germany to the world, Social Democrats Mr. Scholz and Mr. Schulz will have ample opportunity to strut on the global stage.