Vietnam-born German minister takes over as party leader

13th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Germany's new Economy Minister Philipp Roesler was elected leader of the pro-business Free Democrats on Friday, junior partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition.

The outgoing health minister, 38, was elected at the FDP party's congress in the northeastern city of Rostock with 95 percent of the vote.

He takes over as leader from Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, who decided not to seek re-election after a string of election debacles for his party since the beginning of the year.

With his election, Roesler will also take over from Westerwelle as vice chancellor or number two in Merkel's cabinet. Westerwelle, 49, has said he intends to remain foreign minister.

Roesler was appointed economy minister on Tuesday to replace Rainer Bruederle, 65, who was picked to take over as FDP parliamentary leader.

A heart and chest surgeon by training Roesler, who was adopted as an child from a Vietnamese orphanage by a German family, was appointed to the federal cabinet in 2009.

© 2011 AFP

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