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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Germany's power brokers

The politicians who will play significant roles in shaping the future of Germany

In the frame for Germany's top jobs. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg
In the frame for Germany's top jobs. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Olaf Scholz (SPD)

Olaf Scholz, first mayor of Hamburg and vice chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), arrives for coalition talks at the headquarters of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Konrad-Adenauer-Haus, in Berlin, Germany. EPA
Olaf Scholz, first mayor of Hamburg and vice chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), arrives for coalition talks at the headquarters of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Konrad-Adenauer-Haus, in Berlin, Germany. EPA

The mayor of Hamburg is tipped to head the finance ministry where he is expected to bring real if not radical change. The 59-year-old is a keen advocate of European integration and has spoken of his telephone calls with Emmanuel Macron, the French president, who shares similar views. He comes from centrist wing of the party and is seen as a realist whose appointment is likely to lead to greater spending, aided by the growing strength of the German economy.

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Horst Seehofer (CSU)

The state premier of the state of Bavaria and Chairman of the German Christian Social Union (CSU), Horst Seehofer, during a press conference following coalition talks held at the CDU headquarters Konrad-Adenauer-Haus, in Berlin. EPA
The state premier of the state of Bavaria and Chairman of the German Christian Social Union (CSU), Horst Seehofer, during a press conference following coalition talks held at the CDU headquarters Konrad-Adenauer-Haus, in Berlin. EPA

The leader of the Bavarian sister party of Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats is likely to head the interior ministry. He has been a vocal critic of Mrs Merkel’s liberal migration policy. His party had pushed during the coalition talks for strict limits on migrants and refugees coming into the country. Mr Seehofer, 68, has previously called on migrants to “sign up to German values” including adopting the language, and has railed against Turkish efforts to join the European Union.

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Martin Schulz (SPD)

Martin Schulz, leader of the Social Democrat Party (SPD), speaks during a news conference at the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) headquarters in Berlin. Krisztian Bocsi / Bloomberg
Martin Schulz, leader of the Social Democrat Party (SPD), speaks during a news conference at the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) headquarters in Berlin. Krisztian Bocsi / Bloomberg

Mr Schulz’s rise to political prominence followed a failed attempt to become a professional footballer and a struggle with alcoholism in his younger years. His liberal views on migration contrast with those of Mr Seehofer’s whose views he attacked during the election campaign last year. Now aged 62, he appears to have traded his party’s leadership for the foreign ministry.

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Angela Merkel (CDU)

Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor and leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, pauses during a news conference at the CDU headquarters in Berlin, Germany. Krisztian Bocsi / Bloomberg
Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor and leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, pauses during a news conference at the CDU headquarters in Berlin, Germany. Krisztian Bocsi / Bloomberg

Mrs Merkel, 63, has been the dominant figure of European politics in the 21st century and the coalition deal will relaunch a fourth term in office. She only decided to take on a new term after a long deliberation and her mandate has been eroded by the rise of nationalists who have opposed her strategy to deal with the 2015 migration crisis. Under her watch, Germany offered sanctuary to more refugees and asylum seekers than any other European nation.

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