Merkel officially moves into caretaker role

Merkel, 67, who did not stand for re-election in the national ballot on Sept. 26 after four terms in office, will act as caretaker chancellor until a new government is in place.

The SPD, who finished first in the election, are in talks to form a coalition government with the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats by December 6 that would oust Merkel's conservatives after 16 years in power.

With the SPD's Olaf Scholz seen replacing Merkel as chancellor, the party nominated health policy expert Baerbel Blas to replace Wolfang Schaeuble as Bundestag president in an effort to ensure the country's three top political offices are not held by men.

She is only the third woman to serve in that role.

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