Germany’s gender-balanced government takes shape as coalition deal nears


BERLIN, Nov. 20 (Reuters) – Germany’s next government takes shape as coalition talks move closer to a deal, with pending Chancellor Olaf Scholz determined to deliver on his campaign pledge to have as many women as there are men in his team, sources said on Saturday.

Scholz’s center-left Social Democrats (SPD), who narrowly won the September federal election by defeating Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, are trying to form a three-way power coalition with the spendthrift Greens and Democrats tax-conservative free (FDP). .

The SPD is expected to nominate at least three women for ministerial posts: the outgoing Minister of the Environment Svenja Schulze, the outgoing Minister of Justice Christine Lambrecht and the former running mate of Scholz in the race for co-leadership of the party, Klara Geywitz, three people familiar with the decision told Reuters.

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Schulze is expected to become Minister of Economy or Transformation, Lambrecht will likely be in charge of the interior portfolio, including migration, and Geywitz could get the Ministry of Science and Education, the sources said.

Depending on the coalition horse haggling, the SPD could also appoint lawmaker and human rights expert Baerbel Kofler for the economic cooperation and development portfolio.

Among the men of the SPD, Scholz will lead the next government as chancellor, his right-hand man Wolfgang Schmidt is expected to become his chief of staff and Labor Minister Hubertus Heil is expected to keep his post thanks to his good performance during the COVID-19 pandemic, the sources said.

Coalition officials have repeatedly stated that cabinet positions will be decided at the very end of coalition negotiations. Party officials have hinted that a deal could be reached in the coming week, possibly as early as Monday or Tuesday.

FDP leader Christian Lindner is pushing to become finance minister, although Greens co-leader Robert Habeck also wanted the post to secure enough public resources to fund Germany’s faster transition to a climate-friendly economy.

Lindner said on Friday he feared he was being a fiscal hawk as the finance minister was being exaggerated despite his repeated calls for strong public finances and debt reduction after the coronavirus crisis. Read more

If Lindner gets what he wants, Habeck is likely to lead a beefed up climate ministry while Greens co-leader Annalena Baerbock is expected to become Germany’s first female foreign minister.

During the election campaign, Baerbock called for a tougher approach to Russia and China.

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Reporting by Michael Nienaber and Christian Kraemer; Editing by Christina Fincher and Ros Russell

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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