Ministry Distribution in German Coalition Pact

Reuters
Monday, October 10, 2005; 3:19 PM

BERLIN - Germany's conservatives (CDU/CSU) and Social Democrats (SPD) have agreed which party will take charge of which ministry in their coalition government.

However, with only two exceptions, they have not yet specified the ministers themselves.

Following is a summary of their agreement on ministries, according to sources from both parties, together with brief portraits of likely candidates for key ministries.

KEY MINISTRIES:

CHANCELLERY - CDU

ANGELA MERKEL, leader of the Christian Democrats (CDU), will become Germany's first woman chancellor. The daughter of a Protestant pastor, she grew up in communist East Germany. She served as a cabinet minister under Helmut Kohl but came to wider prominence when she took charge of cleaning up a party funding scandal dating from Kohl's rule.

The CDU will also take the post of CHANCELLERY MINISTER, a cabinet-level post responsible for coordinating government work.

One of the SPD's ministers will also double as a VICE CHANCELLOR. Some commentators have suggested outgoing Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder could become foreign minister and vice chancellor but Schroeder is reported to have told the SPD he will not be in the government.

MINISTRY FOR ECONOMY AND TECHNOLOGY - CSU

EDMUND STOIBER has confirmed he will take this post. Bavarian premier since 1993 and head of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the sister party of Merkel's Christian Democrats since 1999. Stoiber, 64, mounted an unsuccessful challenge to Schroeder in 2002.

FOREIGN MINISTRY - SPD

No decisions taken. Outgoing Interior Minister OTTO SCHILY has been mentioned in media reports as a possible candidate. He pushed through tighter security laws after the Sept. 11 attacks, in which three of the suicide pilots were Arab students based in Hamburg. Schily, 73, is also respected by the United States, where during a visit in February he was invited to meet President George W. Bush at the start of Bush's second term. Outgoing Defence Minister PETER STRUCK has also been tipped as a possible foreign minister, although he suffered a slight stroke in June 2004.

FINANCE MINISTRY - SPD

SPD sources said JOCHEN DIECKMANN, a former regional state finance minister, was a possible candidate for this post. He served as finance minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state, from November 2002 to June 2005. He is also chairman of the state's SPD branch, a powerful bloc in the party. Regarded as a low-key but effective operator, he is an expert in the intricacies of public administration and construction law. Other SPD sources have said current Finance Minister HANS EICHEL could continue in the job he has held since April 1999. Former North Rhine-Westphalia premier PEER STEINBRUECK has also been mentioned.

INTERIOR MINISTRY - CDU/CSU

Outgoing Economy Minister Wolfgang Clement said the CSU's GUENTHER BECKSTEIN would take this job but CSU officials say no such decision has been made. Currently Bavaria's interior minister, Beckstein is a hardline law-and-order advocate. He supports measures such as preventive detention for terrorist suspects that have sparked strong opposition from the civil liberties advocates.

According to media reports, former CDU leader WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE is another candidate for this post, which he occupied during Helmut Kohl's rule. He is believed to have a strained relationship with Merkel after she was instrumental in forcing him to quit as CDU chief in 2000 over a party funding scandal. Aged 63, has been confined to a wheelchair since being shot by an attacker in 1990.

DEFENCE MINISTRY - CDU/CSU

SCHAEUBLE has also been mentioned as a candidate for this job too, along with MICHAEL GLOS, leader of the CSU group in parliament.

LABOUR MINISTRY - SPD

SPD chairman Franz Muentefering has been mentioned as a likely candidate, although he said on Monday he would be happy to stay party leader and head of the SPD parliamentary group.

HEALTH - SPD

Current Health Minister Ulla Schmidt may keep her post.

OTHER MINISTRIES:

TRANSPORT - SPD

EDUCATION AND RESEARCH - CDU/CSU

JUSTICE - SPD

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT - SPD

ENVIRONMENT - SPD

AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER PROTECTION - CDU/CSU

FAMILY MINISTER - CDU/CSU




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