Germany’s new power-sharing government is starting to take shape. While conservative leader Angela Merkel looks set to become chancellor, her cabinet will bear the stamp of outgoing Social Democrat Gerhard Schroeder. He has made clear he will play no role in the new government. But under a deal struck on Monday, the SPD is to name half of the cabinet’s 16 members.
Among them is Social Democrat leader and Schroeder’s close ally Franz Muentefering, who is expected to take on the influential position of vice-chancellor and labour minister. Speaking in Berlin, he said: “I think we’ve reached a healthy balance, there’s a good gender ratio. We have ministers from the former east, some new ministers, others who have more experience, there are former state ministers with a lot of experience, so it’s a good team.” If approved by parliament, Merkel will become Germany’s first ever female leader. She faces the difficult task of holding together a fragile bi-partisan government and pushing through the tough economic reforms she has pledged.