John Wayne

Scholz says he’s a good leader, even if not ‘John Wayne’

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz clapped back at those accusing him of weak leadership, saying he provides orientation to the coalition despite not having a showy, head-on leadership style like US Western icon John Wayne.

During an extensive interview with the German public TV station ARD on Sunday, Scholz was asked about the frequent criticism of his “lax” leadership style, especially in the face of infighting within the governing coalition.

While most people picture someone like US actor and cowboy film star John Wayne when they think of leadership, “It does not work this way,” the social democrat German leader said.

“In reality, this is a family of three parties and more than 80 million citizens, who all have an opinion on all the topics concerning how to succeed in our future,” he added. Against this backdrop, Scholz stressed that his job is to “make sure everybody is on board,” adding he provides “a lot of orientation.”

Over the past months, cracks in Germany’s three-party coalition, led by Scholz’s SPD, became increasingly apparent, with disagreements over various issues being fought out publicly.

In particular, Green Energy Minister Robert Habeck’s proposed fossil boiler ban led to a bitter public spat between the Greens and the other party in government, the liberal FDP.

However, while the coalition managed to find a compromise on the law in time for it to pass before the summer break, months of infighting have left a lasting impression of government disunity, with many criticising Scholz for not putting his foot down to resolve the dispute between his two junior coalition partners.

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