16 Oct 05. Angela Merkel’s German cabinet
Chancellor – Angela Merkel, 51 (CDU)
The eighth post-war chancellor of Germany, she will be the first woman to occupy this position and the first head of a federal government to have been raised in former Communist east Germany. Trained as a physicist, she was a latecomer to politics, entering parliament for the first time in 1990. As CDU chairman since 2000, she has pushed the party away from conservatism towards economic liberalism.
Chief-of-staff – Thomas de Maizière, 51 (CDU)
This descendant of French Huguenots has been mainly active in regional politics, including as advisors to the state governments of Mecklenburg Vorpommern and Saxony. In 2004, he became interior minister in the CDU-led grand coalition that governs Saxony.
Economics and technology – Edmund Stoiber, 64 (CSU)
The CSU chairman and Bavarian state premier stands for fiscal austerity, socially responsible economic policies, and mild corporatism at home. Not a radical reformer. He would have to relinquish the Labour portfolio, currently housed in the economics ministry, under the new cabinet structure.
Defence – Franz Josef Jung, 56 (CDU)
A former regional minister and since 2003 head of the CDU in the state of Hesse, he will be the ears and the eyes of Roland Koch, the mighty state premier of Hesse and prominent Merkel rival, in the federal cabinet.
Interior – Wolfgang Schäuble, 63 (CDU)
Ms Merkel’s predecessor as CDU chairman, he will be returning to a position he already occupied between 1989 and 1991. His personal relationship with the chancellor in was damaged in 2000 by the clash that led to his resignation as party head.
Consumer protection and agriculture – Horst Seehofer, 56 (CSU)
A former health minister between 1992 and 1998, the independent-minded Bavarian and figurehead of the CSU’s left wing returns to front-line politics after a spell in purgatory following a violent clash with Ms Merkel last year over healthcare reform.
Family, women, the elderly and the youth – Ursula von der Leyen, 47 (CDU)
Like Ms Merkel a latecomer to politics, the partly US-educated medical doctor and mother-of-seven has been family ministry in Lower Saxony since 2003. She will be one of Ms Merkel’s closest allies in the cabinet.
Education and research – Annette Schavan, 50 (CDU)
Another close Merkel ally, this cast-in-the-wool conservative with roots in the CDU going back to the 70s will enter the cabinet after a failing in her bid to become state premier of Baden-Wurttemberg last April
Labour and social security; vice-chancellor- Franz Müntefering, 65
The SPD chairman will be Ms Merkel’s deputy. Seen as a traditionalist Social Democratic, he raised highbrows this year when he branded foreign financial investors as “locusts”.
Foreign policy – Frank-Walter Steinmeier – 49
Schröder’s former chief of chancellery and one of the most powerful people in his cabinet, replace Joschka Fisher.
Finance – Peer Steinbrück, 58
Was voted out as state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia last May but has retained his aura as a capable economic expert, a friend of pro-market reforms, and a man with a good track record of cross-party co-operation (he devised a subsidy cut plan with Roland Koch, the CDU premier of Hesse). Yet the SPD’s left wing opposes him vehemently.
Justice – Brigitte Zypries, 51
For the first time in parliament, the current justice minister could be confirmed in her job after what is generally seen as a successful three years in the job. The left wing is suspicious of her.
Health – Ulla Schmidt, 56
Health minister since 2001, with additional responsibility for social security since 2002, she would, if reconducted, inherit an amputated portfolio. She was Mr Seehofer’s counterpart in negotiating the cross-party healthcare bill of 2003, which gives her grand-coalition clout, yet she is controversial on the left.
Transport – Wolfgang Tiefensee
The popular mayor of Leipzig and gifted cellist