Angela Merkel elected new German chancellor

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

This article is part of the series
Germany
German federal elections 2005
Complete Coverage
Prelude
Election Day
Aftermath
Background
Angela Merkel
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Angela Merkel has been elected the first female chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany; she succeeds Gerhard Schröder after his seven years as head of government.

Merkel received 397 of the 612 votes cast in the Bundestag. Schröder was the first to congratulate her before she accepted the election. The newly formed grand coalition of Social (SPD) and Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) holds a total of 448 seats in the Bundestag.

Later in the day, Merkel took the oath of office and president Horst Köhler officially appointed her along with her cabinet.

Angela Merkel was born 1954 in Hamburg. After her birth her father was offered a pastorship in East Germany (GDR) and the family moved there. She studied physics in Leipzig where she earned her PhD. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Merkel became involved in the East German democracy movement, joining the Demokratischer Aufbruch. She was spokeswoman of the first and last freely elected prime minister of the GDR, Lothar de Maizière. After the reunification Merkel served as minister of youth and family in the government of Helmut Kohl during the years 1990 – 1994 and later as minister of the environment from 1994 – 1998. In 2000 she became head of the Christian Democrats and in the following Federal election of 2002 she stood aside, letting Edmund Stoiber of the Bavarian CSU be the failed Christian Democrats candidate for the chancellorship. When Gerhard Schröder called for an early election in May of this year, Merkel received the nomination of her party.

Outgoing Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, was born during 1944 in Blomberg. His father died in World War II, only a few months after Schröder's birth. He initially worked as a sales clerk and earned his high school diploma studying at night. He studied law in Göttingen and worked at the University there, joining the Social Democrats and became chair of the Young Socialists, the youth organisation of the party. In 1980 he was elected to the Bundestag and later became governor of Lower-Saxony. In 1998 he was the SPD's successful candidate for chancellor, forming a coalition government with The Greens. After the resignation of Oskar Lafontaine in 1999, Schröder also became chair of the SPD, a post he held until 2004. His coalition was re-elected in 2002.

After a humiliating defeat of SPD in North Rhine-Westphalia, Schröder called for an early election. During a tough campaign, Schröder managed to get the SPD nearly as many votes as the CDU, clawing back a significant advantage the party had over his entering the campaign.

Schröder announced that he will give up his seat in the Bundestag and practise as a lawyer again.

The new cabinet

Angela Merkel (CDU) Chancellor
Franz Müntefering (SPD) Vice chancellor and minister of labour
Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) Foreign minister
Michael Glos (CSU) Minister of economy
Peer Steinbrück (SPD) Minister of finance
Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) Minister of the interior
Brigitte Zypries (SPD) Minister of justice
Franz Josef Jung (CDU) Minister of defence
Ulla Schmidt (SPD) Minister of health
Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) Minister of environment
Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) Minister of family and women
Horst Seehofer (CSU) Minister of consumer protection and agriculture
Annette Schavan (CDU) Minister of education
Wolfgang Tiefensee (SPD) Minister of construction and transportation
Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul (SPD) Minister of international development
Thomas de Maizière (CDU) Head of the chancellor's office with cabinet rank

Sources

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