German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (65) dismissed Angela Merkel (67, CDU) as Chancellor on Tuesday evening.
At the Bellevue Palace, Steinmeier handed Merkel the deed of dismissal as head of government after four terms in office. Ministers from her cabinet were also formally dismissed on Tuesday evening.
However, Chancellor Merkel and her ministers are not completely out of government yet. Even after her resignation, the federal government will remain in an interim position until a new chancellor and new ministers are elected. Those elections are expected to be held in early December.
Steinmeier thanks Merkel for 16 years of chancellorship
The federal president expressed his respect and appreciation for the outgoing government during his resignation at Bellevue Palace. He paid special tribute to Merkel for her 16 years of chancellorship.
Steinmeier praised the chancellor as a figure who has shaped German history. In her 16 years in office, Merkel has survived many crises, earned the trust of citizens, and at the same time gained international recognition, respect, and even affection for Germany.
To say that the past term was “full of challenges” does not even come close to what tasks had to be faced,” the Federal President said. The coronavirus pandemic in particular demanded a lot from the government. Another challenge was the growing polarization of society.
“On behalf of our nation, I thank you,” he added
President Steinmeier concluded his speech by thanking Angela Merkel: “On behalf of our nation, I thank you and wish you all the best for the future. He wished the current interim federal government success and a “continued happy hand.”
From a purely legal point of view, the interim government can act in the same way as a normal government. It can submit laws and even a new budget to the Bundestag. Ministers also retain their powers. Traditionally, however, the interim federal government exercises restraint so as not to limit the future cabinet’s room for maneuver.