Angela Merkel to bow out with ceremony live on German television

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Angela Merkel will ceremoniously step down with a military tattoo in her honor on Thursday evening, before formally handing over her seat of power to Olaf Scholz in the first half of next week.

Featuring soldiers wearing torches in full military gear, precision choreography and three songs chosen by the outgoing Chancellor performed by a marching band, the event will mark the highlight of Merkel’s departure tour after 16 years in office.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, the ceremony will be more low-key than those which honored his predecessors Gerhard Schröder and Helmut Kohl when they left office.

Broadcast live on German TV from 7.20 p.m., the ceremony in the courtyard in front of the Defense Ministry in Berlin will begin with a short speech by the Chancellor and end after just over an hour, without a reception.

The custom of Large tattoo The ceremony dates back to the 16th century, but the highest German military honor has only been bestowed on chancellors since the departure in 1998 of Helmut Kohl, whose farewell took place in front of Speyer Cathedral in his native state of Rhineland-Palatinate. .

While Schröder Large tattoo gathered 600 guests, Merkel is said to have invited only around 200, including the 52 ministers who served under her mandate. Ursula von der Leyen, the current President of the European Commission and former Minister of Family and Defense under Merkel, is not expected to attend due to a meeting with South American heads of state scheduled for the same day .

As the soundtrack of her departure ceremony, Merkel would have chosen the Christian hymn Great God, we praise you (Holy God, we praise your name), song by Hildegard Knef It should be raining red roses for me (It should be raining red roses for me), Nina Hagen’s You forgot the color film (You forgot the color film) – these choose a 1970s GDR pop hit that pays homage to Merkel’s East German upbringing in a way she rarely did during her tenure.

For Merkel to formally hand over power to her successor Olaf Scholz next week, the new government’s coalition deal will need to be approved by all three parties involved.

Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) will hold a party congress on Saturday, where its delegates are expected to ratify the deal under which the center-left will return to the chancellery for the first time since 2005. Unlike 2013 and 2018, the SPD will not give a vote on the future power-sharing agreement to all of its members.

The Liberal Democratic Party (FDP) will vote the next day in a digital congress, while members of the Greens have until December 6 to approve or reject the deal. While many Green Party members have voiced criticism of the deal’s environmental aspects, a rejection is seen as unlikely.

Once the document has been approved by the three parties, Scholz could be sworn in as Germany’s next leader from Monday, December 6 and no later than Wednesday at the end of the day. Thursday, a German chancellor will represent the country at the “summit for democracy” organized by the American president, Joe Biden.

Merkel will most likely hand over the Chancellery on the same day as Scholz is sworn in.

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