German cabinet takes shape as coalition talks enter home stretch

Olaf Scholz attends conference in Berlin

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s next cabinet is taking shape as coalition talks near an agreement, with candidate Chancellor Olaf Scholz determined to fulfill his campaign promise to have as many women as men on his team, sources said this Saturday.

Scholz’s center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), which narrowly won federal elections in September by defeating Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, are trying to form a governing coalition with the pro-spending Greens and the Liberal Democratic Party (FDP), conservative.

The SPD is expected to nominate three women to cabinet positions: Environment Minister Svenja Schulze, Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht, and Scholz’s former running mate in the race for party co-leadership Klara Geywitz, they said. Three sources familiar with the ruling told Reuters.

Schulze is likely to become economics minister, Lambrecht will likely be in charge of the interior, including migration, and Geywitz could take the Ministry of Science and Education, the sources said.

Among the SPD men, Scholz will lead the next government as chancellor, his right-hand man Wolfgang Schmidt is expected to become his chief of staff, and Labor Minister Hubertus Heil is expected to keep his job thanks to his strong performance during the Covid pandemic -19, the sources said.

Coalition officials have repeatedly said cabinet positions will be decided at the end of coalition negotiations. Party officials have suggested a deal could be reached next week, possibly as early as Monday or Tuesday.

(By Michael Nienaber and Christian Kraemer)

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