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Germany

Scottish-German politician set to head Lower Saxony

David McAllister, a German with Scottish roots, has been nominated to take over as state premier of Lower Saxony. Known as Mac, the 39-year-old would be the country's youngest ever state premier.

David McAllister

David McAllister is Lower Saxony's 'premier-in-waiting'

With Christian Wulff, the premier of Lower Saxony, likely to become Germany's next president, the state is in need of a new leader.

It didn't take long for his replacement to step into the spotlight. On Friday, Christian Democrat (CDU) officials said David McAllister, a conservative politician with Scottish family roots, had been unanimously nominated to take Wulff's seat once the current premier makes the expected move to the presidential palace in Berlin. Wulff was nominated by Chancellor Angela Merkel as the government's candidate for president on Thursday.

"I have confidence in myself for the office of state premier, otherwise I wouldn't put myself forward for election," McAllister said after the nomination. He said he planned to build on Wulff's successful work in the state, adding that Wulff's election as president would be "the culmination of a great political career."

McAllister has long been seen as a premier-in-waiting in Lower Saxony, one of Germany's most populous states. The 39-year-old, who has a Scottish father and a German mother, would be the country's youngest ever state premier.

Known locally as Mac, the politician is proud of his ancestry - he wore a kilt to his wedding. He's married with two daughters, Jamie and Mia.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and the governor of the German state of Lower Saxony, Christian Wulff

Wulff (left) is Merkel's, and the government's, nominee for the office of president

'Future, not socialism'

McAllister and his two sisters spent their early years growing up in West Berlin, where his father was stationed with the British army. Being surrounded by communism, as McAllister writes on his website, left its mark: his personal motto is "Future, not socialism."

As an 11-year-old, McAllister moved with his family to Bad Bederkesa, a small town near Cuxhaven in northern Germany, a place he and his family consider their "Heimat im Herzen" - their true home.

It was here in Lower Saxony that he began his political career, first as district chairman of the CDU youth organization from 1991 to 1994, and then as mayor of Bad Bederkesa from 2001 to 2002.

The election for Germany's next president is due to take place on June 30, in a special assembly made up of the German parliament and an equal number of representatives from the 16 federal states.

As the ruling coalition's official choice, Wulff stands a good chance of becoming president. Until then, the current state premier plans to continue his duties in the state capital of Hanover.

Author: Martin Kuebler (apn/dpa)
Editor: Andreas Illmer

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