Wednesday, 23 October, 2019

Merkel protege AKK appointed German defence minister

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was seen shaking as she met President Frank Walter Steinmeier in Berlin Germany Merkel Urges Moldova To Speed Up Reform Pace
Patty Aguilar | 18 July, 2019, 15:30

Kramp-Karrenbauer was elected as the leader of the CDU party in December, after Merkel's decision to step down as party leader.

At a naming ceremony at the presidential palace in Berlin in Merkel's presence, the 56-year-old formally accepted the portfolio from von der Leyen.

She has been in office since November 2005, having previously gained cabinet experience as Environment Minister and formerly Minister for Women and Youth.

She takes charge of a ministry that has proven a poisoned chalice for several recent predecessors, facing the additional pressure of demands from U.S. President Donald Trump for Germany to boost its military budget.

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Before Kramp-Karrenbauer, who is widely seen as the chancellor's chosen heir, was announced as the new minister, Merkel had said there would be a "very fast replacement". "You can not leave that open for long", said Merkel on Tuesday. Germany's armed forces, which critics maintain have always been chronically underfunded, are consistently accused of inefficiency and of having inadequate or defective equipment. "There is a lot to do in the CDU", Kramp-Karrenbauer recently told the German newspaper Bild.

Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, defense politician for the German liberal FDP, said that Kramp-Karrenbauer's credibility as defense minister was damaged right from the start.

With the defence job, she also ties herself to the binds of cabinet loyalty - while as CDU chair she must still mastermind the party's strategy for three autumn regional elections in Germany's east, in which success is crucial to her prospects.

"After weeks of refusing to join the government, she will now become minister of defense of all things", criticized Strack-Zimmermann.

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