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Germany

Germany's SPD Reveals Cabinet Members

SPD leader Franz Müntefering announced the line-up of the party's nominations for cabinet posts in the new government Thursday. DW-WORLD introduces the likely ministers.

Müntefering will be vice chancellor and labor minister

Should Social Democrats and Christian Union parties agree to a grand coalition, as is expected, Müntering himself will become vice chancellor and take over the labor ministry.

His current job as the SPD's parliamentary leader will be taken over by outgoing Defense Minister Peter Struck, who already served in that position until 2002.

The Christian Union parties meanwhile have only said that Angela Merkel will become chancellor and Bavarian Premier will take over as economics minister. Six other posts will be announced on Monday, ahead of coalition negotiations that are due to begin on that day.

The SPD's line-up:

Sigmar Gabriel (Environment)

Sigmar Gabriel

Despite being ousted as premier of the northern state of Lower Saxony in 2003, 46-year-old Gabriel has been seen as a rising star within the SPD. A teacher by trade, Gabriel was a member of Lower Saxony's parliament for 15 years before becoming a national parliamentarian after the Sept. 18 election. A frequent guest on Germany's political TV talk shows, Gabriel is seen as a centrist within the party.

Franz Müntefering (Labor, Vice Chancellor)

Franz Müntefering

An industrial clerk by trade, the 65-year-old has spend the last decade backing Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. He was instrumental in ensuring the latter's election in 1998 as SPD manager and became transportation minister for one year. Müntefering then took over as the SPD's secretary general and helped re-elect Schröder in 2002. After that, Müntefering became parliamentary leader of his party. He replaced Schröder as party leader in 2004 after the chancellor said that Müntefering could do a better job in communicating the government's goals to the party basis while he would focus on governing.

Ulla Schmidt (Health)

Ulla Schmidt

Schmidt had one of the worst jobs in Germany's cabinet: She pushed through a far-reaching health reform that introduced a co-pay for doctor's visits, among other things. Schmidt, who became health minister in 2001, has been credited for her competency and steadfastness during negotiations with opposition parties and Germany's health sector lobby.

Peer Steinbrück (Finance)

Peer Steinbrück

Originally from Hamburg, Steinbrück began his carreer as a civil servant in the federal ministry for construction in 1974 and occupied many administrative and political offices in Schleswig-Holstein and his adopted state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) since then. He became NRW's premier after Wolfgang Clement moved to Berlin as economics and labor minister in 2002. Before that, Steinbrück served as NRW's finance minister. He already has some grand coalition experience as he worked with Hesse's premier, Roland Koch, on proposals for cutting state subsidies. His defeat in the May 22 state elections brought about early national elections on Sept. 18.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Foreign)

Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Steinmeier has been one of the country's most powerful men as he served as Chancellor Gehard Schröder's chief-of-staff. But he's largely unknown in Germany as he mainly worked behind the scenes. The 48-year-old former university lecturer in law and politics joined Schröder's team in the early 1990s while the latter was still a state politician in Lower Saxony.

Wolfgang Tiefensee (Transportation)

Wolfgang Tiefensee

Leipzig's mayor has been credited with the economic success of eastern Germany's second-largest city and SPD leaders have long tried to lure him into national politics -- Tiefensee turned down a job as minister for eastern German reconstruction after the 2002 election. He's been leading Leipzig since 1998. Tiefensee's image suffered after Leipzig failed to become host city of the Olympic Games last year amid accusations of mismanagement.

Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul (Economic Development)

Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul

Known as "red Heidi" because of her hair color and political convictions, Wieczorek-Zeul is part of the SPD's left wing. A former teacher, the 62-year-old once led her party'y youth organization and became deputy party leader in 1993. Five years later, she became German minister for economic development and cooperation and traveled to Cuba as the first German government member in 2000. Wieczorek-Zeul was instrumental in getting EU countries to agree to raise development aid to 0.7 percent of GDP by 2015. Germany currently only spends 0.28 percent on development aid.

Brigitte Zypries (Justice)

Brigitte Zypries

A former lawyer, Zypries began her political career in Hesse before moving to Hanover to serve under then Premier Gerhard Schröder. The 51-year-old became deputy minister in Berlin's interior ministry before taking over the justice ministry in 2002.

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