Germany’s Finance Minister Schauble Out, To Become Bundestag President
As part of the fallout from Sunday’s disastrous – for the CDU – election which will see Merkel govern in a three-way coalition with the minor German parties, it was expected that Germany’s iconic finance minister Wolfgang Schauble would be kicked out of his post. It also means that Germany’s pro-business, low-tax FDP, whose support Merkel is likely to need, will be put in charge of the coveted finance ministry position.
That was confirmed moments ago by the German news agency dpa, which reported that Schauble is to step aside from the German finance ministry position he has held since 2009, to become president of the German Bundestag, or lower house of parliament.
According to Bild, Angela Merkel and Volker Kauder, the leader of the CDU-CSU conservative bloc in the Bundestag, asked Schauble to take over the role which has been vacant since the departure of the veteran CDU MP Norbert Lammert. Schaeuble will be nominated by CDU-led caucus at the next meeting on Oct. 17 and Schaeuble would take up the post when next Bundestag meets next month.
Schäuble has been the longest-serving MP in the Bundestag, first elected some 45 years ago.
While the move may seem a gentle form of retirement for the cranky finmin, the FT notes that the role of managing debate in the Bundestag “will become much harder with the arrival of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany which won 13 per cent of the vote and 94 parliamentary seats.”
Speaking at Schaeuble’s 75th birthday celebration last week, Merkel paid tribute to his 45 years as a member of parliament, but gave no clear signal that she wanted to retain him in the post after the election.
Confined to a wheelchair since being shot at an election rally in 1990, Schaeuble is widely respected in Germany as a steward of the nation’s finances, and enjoyed Merkel’s strong support during the euro zone debt crisis, which almost tore the currency bloc apart. But he is a hate figure in Greece and other parts of southern Europe for his insistence on austerity at a time of deep recession in return for euro zone bailout loans.
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