Germany's first woman defence minister in Merkel's new cabinet
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's new coalition cabinet includes the country's first woman defence minister and a foreign minister who returned to his former office after spending four years in the opposition.world Updated: Dec 18, 2013 12:04 IST
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's new coalition cabinet includes the country's first woman defence minister and a foreign minister who returned to his former office after spending four years in the opposition.
Christian Democrat (CDU) labour minister in the outgoing cabinet Ursula von der Leyen has taken over the defence ministry from her party colleague Thomas de Maiziere in a reshuffle described by the media as the most sensational appointment in the new cabinet which assumed office yesterday.
Commentators speculated that she is being groomed to succeed Merkel, who may not seek another term in 2017.
de Maiziere, who has been facing criticism over his handling of a drone project, which was scrapped after spending around 650 million euros to develop a prototype, returned to the interior ministry, which he held between 2009 and 2011.
Social Democrat (SPD) parliamentary group leader Frank Walter Steinmeier took over the foreign affairs portfolio, a post he held when Merkel headed her first "grand coalition" with the SPD during 2005-2009.
SPD chairman Sigmar Gabriel, who was the environment minister in that cabinet, became the new deputy chancellor and the minister for economy and energy.
Merkel's close ally Wolfgang Schaeuble has maintained his post as finance minister in the new cabinet in a strong indication that the new government is unlikely to ease its tough stance on fiscal discipline in the euro zone.
The new cabinet has six ministers each from the CDU and the SPD and three from the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU).