Merkel rivals to join German cabinet, talks start
Updated: 2005-10-18 10:02
German chancellor-designate Angela Merkel named several leading conservative
rivals to join her cabinet on Monday as power-sharing talks expected to last
several weeks began with the Social Democrats (SPD).
As coalition negotiations between Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and
the SPD got under way, her conservatives named respected CDU veteran Wolfgang
Schaeuble to head the Interior Ministry, a position he also held under former
Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
Schaeuble, 63, whose relations
with Merkel grew strained when she helped oust him as CDU leader in 2000 amid a
party funding scandal, is joined in the cabinet by Edmund Stoiber and Horst
Seehofer, top figures in the CDU's sister party, the Christian Social Union
Angela Merkel (L) leader of Germany's
conservative Christian Democratic Union party (CDU) chats with Franz
Muentefering of the SPD prior to the coalition talks in Berlin October 17,
Both Stoiber, 64, who is slated to become economy minister, and Seehofer, 56,
who was named agriculture and consumer protection minister, have a history of
clashes with Merkel.
Seehofer resigned abruptly from his post as deputy leader of the joint
CDU/CSU parliamentary group one year ago after a battle with Merkel over health
In recent days she tried to get another CSU politician, Michael Glos, named
as defense minister to prevent Seehofer's appointment, but CSU chief Stoiber
blocked that move.
Merkel has a history of sidelining
party rivals and that has left her with few experienced conservative allies for
top posts. Her party's unexpectedly poor result in a September 18 election also
curbed her ability to dictate who will be in her team.
Germany's conservative Christian Democratic
Union party (CDU) delegation (L) and Social Democrats (SPD) delegation (R)
start their first round of coalition talks at the Social Democrats
headquarter in Berlin October 17, 2005.
"I expect this cabinet to work as a team," Merkel told reporters as the
ministers were unveiled.