Schröder retains influence in Merkel's government

As details of her new cabinet's make-up emerged yesterday, it became clear that Ms Merkel will have to try to rule Germany with leading figures from the opposition Social Democrats in many of the government's key posts.

The cabinet is certainly not the mistral of change Ms Merkel promised she would blow through the Fatherland if she were elected. It is more like an old-boys' club of Gerhard Schröder's friends and supporters who will be around to do their ex-master's bidding long after he retires.

The price of a power-sharing deal for Ms Merkel to govern Germany as the first female Chancellor has been to hand over key ministries to the SPD. Yesterday, familiar names and faces were given to many of those slots.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, 49, Schröder's chief of staff since 1999 and a relative unknown on the national political scene, was chosen by the SPD on Thursday to fill the post of Foreign Minister currently held by Joschka Fischer. Peer Steinbrück, 58, a former premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, as well as a good friend of Mr Schröder's, replaces Hans Eichel as Finance Minister.

Franz Münterfering, head of the SPD who took the party on a left-turn after it lost the key state of North Rhine-Westphalia after nearly 40 years in power, becomes Vice-Chancellor and also Labour Minister.

Other SPD members of the cabinet include Ulla Schmidt and Brigitte Zypries, who will remain as health and justice ministers respectively. Sigmar Gabriel, a former premier of Lower Saxony, becomes Environment Minister, and Wolfgang Tiefensee, Mayor of Leipzig, is to become Transport Minister. Again, all are friends of their outgoing mentor Mr Schröder.

Neither the conservatives nor the SPD won enough support in last month's election to form a government with their preferred partners, forcing them into coalition talks with each other.

Already economists are predicting a wipe-out for Ms Merkel's promised reforms of the tax system, labour markets and union power. The SPD, with power over several important departments, will dictate both the pace and structure of any reforms.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
News
Hillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Life and Style
Kissing
life
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test