Tue, Dec 17, 2013 - Page 7 News List

Merkel builds Cabinet of rivals

TESTING:Ursula von der Leyen was named the nation’s first female minister of defense, despite openly challenging German Chancellor Angela Merkel on policy

AFP, BERLIN

She is to be formally elected by the Bundestag lower house of parliament today, when the new Cabinet will also be sworn in.

Germany, Europe’s top economy, has endured nearly three months of political limbo since a September general election saw a triumph for Merkel and her Christian Union bloc, but left them short of a ruling majority.

The ensuing coalition negotiations with the SPD, which came in a distant second place, lasted seven weeks.

Gabriel put the coalition pact to an unprecedented binding vote among SPD members, 76 percent of whom backed the new government according to results he announced on Saturday.

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