Germany prepares for Merkel to become first female leader

21st November 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 November 2005, BERLIN - Germany's political parties chose their parliamentary leaders Monday, a day before the lower house is expected to elect Angela Merkel chancellor.

21 November 2005

BERLIN - Germany's political parties chose their parliamentary leaders Monday, a day before the lower house is expected to elect Angela Merkel chancellor.

The Christian Democrats voted in Volker Kauder as the new head of their parliamentary caucus, which comprises Bundestag members from Merkel's CDU and from its Bavarian sister-party, the CSU.

Kauder, who secured 93 per cent of the votes, was previously CDU general secretary.

The Social Democrats were also choosing their parliamentary leader, with outgoing Defence Minister Peter Struck seen as certain also to win massive backing from his party.

The CDU/CSU put forward Merkel as candidate for chancellor in the September 18 elections.

The inconclusive result spelled the end of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's coalition of Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens but also necessitated drawn-out political horse-trading.

Merkel is to head a "grand coalition" of CDU/CSU and SPD, in the first such constellation since the 1960s, after the main forces agreed a reform programme aimed primarily at reviving Germany's sluggish economy.

If all goes according to plan, the Bundestag in a secret ballot will vote in Merkel as chancellor Tuesday, before she is sworn in by President Horst Koehler and takes over formally from Schroeder.

DPA

Subject: German news

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