BERLIN — Olaf Scholz succeeded in his campaign to become the next chancellor of Germany primarily by convincing voters that he would be very much like the towering and long-serving figure he will replace: Angela Merkel.
Terse, well-briefed and abstaining from any gesture of triumph, Mr. Scholz not only sounded like the outgoing conservative chancellor, he perfected the art of embodying her aura of stability and calm to the point of holding his hands together in her signature diamond shape.
“He’s like a soccer player who studied videos of another player and changed his game,” said Robin Alexander, a long-term political observer of both Ms. Merkel and Mr. Scholz. “From temperament and political style all the way down to facial expression Scholz now channels Merkel. If Scholz was a woman he would wear pantsuits.”
As Mr. Scholz unveiled his new center-left government on…