BERLIN—Germany’s parliament elected a new chancellor on Wednesday, ending Angela Merkel’s 16-year rule. The country’s new center-left leader inherits longstanding challenges from his predecessor and faces a cluster of short-term crises that could complicate his plans to modernize the German state and its economy.

Olaf Scholz, 63, and his Green and free-market coalition partners have agreed on a four-year program to overhaul Germany’s economy, fight climate change, digitize public services and reverse its demographic decline.



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