Merkel to name conservative ministers in German Cabinet

Germany's chancellor-to-be Angela Merkel will name the conservative ministers in her cabinet on Monday to complete the line-up of a coalition government which faces a formidable task to regenerate an ailing economy.Merkel was to make her announcement shortly before the hard bargaining begins at 5 pm local time to hammer out a program for the new government, in the first acid test for an alliance of political enemies. The price Merkel paid for evicting Gerhard Schrцder from the chancellery after seven years was a power-sharing deal which hands his Social Democrats eight of the 14 cabinet posts, including the key finance and foreign ministries. Merkel will announce the identities of the six ministers her conservative Christian Union provides under the pact, economy, interior, defense, agriculture, education and family, as well as the parliamentary speaker's chair. Edmund Stoiber, the leader of the southern state of Bavaria, has already confirmed he will head the economics ministry. Even before Merkel faces the difficulties posed by managing the Social Democrat ministers, she has clashed with Stoiber, who leads the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Merkel fought against Stoiber's wish to bring his trusted ally Horst Seehofer into the government because Seehofer has been a fierce critic of the conservatives' proposals to reform the health system. CSU party leadership, however, voted unanimously for Seehofer's appointment as agriculture minister, sources close to the CSU said on Monday morning, reports Deutsche Welle. I.L.

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