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"Traffic light" coalition formed, Olaf Scholz will become Germany's next chancellor

"Traffic light" coalition formed, Olaf Scholz will become

Germany's Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals have reached an agreement on forming a new government, paving the way for Finance Minister Olaf Scholz to succeed Angela Merkel as head of Europe's largest economy.

The three parties will present their coalition deal Wednesday afternoon, the result of nearly two months of intense negotiations following the September 26 national elections, which were narrowly won by the Social Democrats.

The new government's most urgent priority will be to curb a pandemic that is threatening to cover Germany's hospitals. Authorities reported 66,884 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours - a record - while the incidence rate per 100,000 people in 7 days exceeded 400 for the first time since the outbreak of Covid-19.

The September elections marked a turning point in German politics. With Merkel leaving the political scene after four terms as chancellor, her Christian Democrats fell to their worst score.

They will be followed by a "traffic light" coalition, named after the respective party colors: red for the SPD, yellow for the Liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and green for the Greens. This will be the first such national-level alliance in German history and is expected to put the fight against climate change at the top of its agenda.

The SPD and FDP will hold a party conference to approve the coalition agreement, while the Greens will put it to a vote by all party members. If it gets the green light, the new government will be sworn in at the Bundestag early next month.