Germany to have its first female foreign minister

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Germany: Annalena Baerbock is expected to take on this role in early December.

Berlin:

Green Party co-leader Annalena Baerbock will become Germany’s first female foreign minister, her party said Thursday, as the country’s new coalition government takes shape.

The 40-year-old mother-of-two is expected to take up her post in early December once the new government – made up of the Social Democrats (SPD), the liberal FDP and the Greens – is officially installed.

Baerbock signaled a more assertive stance on China and Russia, placing respect for human rights and the rule of law at the center of German diplomacy.

Green Party director Michael Kellner said in a statement that co-leader Robert Habeck had been appointed to head a “super ministry” bringing together economics, energy and climate protection.

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He will also become vice-chancellor.

Although Baerbock, a former medal-winning trampolinist, failed in her attempt to replace Angela Merkel as chancellor in the September election, she nonetheless led her party to a record 15% score.

The third-place result paved the way for the Greens to return to power after 16 years in opposition, in a new three-way coalition with the SPD’s Olaf Scholz as the next presumed chancellor.

The three parties – known as the “traffic light alliance” after their party colors – unveiled their coalition agreement on Wednesday, along with the distribution of ministerial posts.

The deal still needs to be formally approved by all three parties, which should be a formality. Scholz is expected to be sworn in before the Bundestag in the week of December 6.

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Five ministerial posts have been allocated to the Greens. Although the appointments of Baerbock and Habeck are widely expected, the party was embroiled in a last-minute power struggle over who would fill the remaining three positions.

In keeping with Scholz’s promise that the next cabinet would have gender parity, only one of these three could go to a man – pitting the party’s radical “Fundi” wing against Baerbock and the more pragmatic and centrist camp “Realos” by Habeck.

The standoff was resolved in evening talks on Thursday, with Kellner announcing that People’s Congressman Cem Ozdemir, who has Turkish roots, would head the agriculture ministry. Ozdemir is from the “Realo” camp.

Pandemic crisis

Several other big ministerial choices have also come to light in recent days, with FDP leader Christian Lindner, a budget hawk, set to become the new finance minister at the head of the EU’s largest economy.

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The new government’s coalition pact includes pledges to spend heavily on climate protection and infrastructure while respecting Germany’s self-imposed debt limits.

Faced with a fierce fourth wave of coronavirus infections that saw Germany pass the 100,000 Covid death mark on Thursday, they also pledged to create a crisis team to fight the pandemic.

Outgoing Merkel however signaled that she did not think the current efforts were going far enough, saying Thursday that “every day counts” and that swift action was needed to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed.

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by UK Time News staff and is posted Platforms.)

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