The people who are making the new Germany
Out: Gerhard Schrder
Peer Steinbruck, finance minister (SPD):
This 58-year-old bureaucrat-turned-right-wing Social Democratic politician has arguably the toughest job in Germany: putting the countrys finances back on track. He mightjustbe the man for the job. As finance minister and prime minister of Germanys most populous state, North Rhine Westphalia, he honed a reputation for fiscal rectitude. He also worked effectively with political opponents to cut practical, money-saving deals on state finances. An avid chess player, hell need to keep a keen eye on the maneuverings of the labor and economy ministries.
Frank Muentefering, vice chancellor and labor minister:
Freeing up the labor markets is widely regarded as key to unleashing Germanys economic potential. That agenda is in the hands of a man who earlier this year dubbed hedge funds as locusts. His abrupt resignation as SPD chairman almost scuppered the coalition talks. He will be Merkels deputy. Expect some fireworks on this beat.
Michael Glos, economic minister:
For 10 years Glos has run the parliamentary party for the CSU, longtime allies of the CDU. He comes from an archetypal Mittelstand business background in Bavaria. Pro-reform, yes, but not at the expense of anything that cuts into the interests of a Catholic social constituency with strong ties to the land.
And the people who are pulling the strings behind the scenes
This 51-year-old biochemist replaced the edgy Muentefering as chairman of the SPD during the coalition talks. A highly regarded premier of the state of Brandenburg, Platzeck will be point man in keeping the moderate and left-wing elements of the party working in tandem. He might work some of that magic in the coalition, too: A former Green turned Social Democrat, he has since worked closely with the CDU in his hometown state.
Dont forget this veteran conservative. He skulked out of the coalition talks and holds no formal government position, but his leadership of the CSU and his economic track record of Lederhosen and Laptops in his home state of Bavaria means he can make trouble from the wings if he chooses.