“Women will have half the power,” smiles Olaf Scholz. Because with the announcement of the list of seven Social Democratic ministers the promise of the election campaign is confirmed: the “traffic light” government that is about to take office (the election of the chancellor is scheduled for this Wednesday) will be the first perfectly “gender equal” . That is to say equal number of women ministers and men ministers. The latest arrivals, so to speak, are the four Social Democratic appointed ministers that Scholz presented today at the Willy-Brandt-Haus, the headquarters of the SPD: the real surprise (and novelty) is the arrival of Nancy Faeser, president of the Hessian regional assembly, the first woman in Germany to occupy the Ministry of the Interior (in place of the Bavarian Christian-socialist Horst Seehofer). The Ministry of Construction goes to Klara Geywitz, while the outgoing owner of the Environment Svenja Schulze goes to Economic Cooperation and Development and Christine Lambrecht moves from Justice to the Defense Department. With the green Annalena Baerbock in the crucial Foreign Affairs box, Steffi Lemke in the Environment, Anna Spiegel in the Family, plus the liberal Bettina Stark-Watzinger in the Ministry of Education and Research, the picture is complete: eight women and eight men. The seventeenth place of the executive is that of Chancellor Scholz.
The other topic that occupies the headlines of the German media in these hours is the arrival of Karl Lauterbach at Health, an appointment that comes after a long tug-of-war among the ranks of the Social Democrats themselves: Head of Health of the party that belonged to Brandt and of Schmidt, in the last year and a half the one who is today indicated as the successor of the Christian Democrat Jens Spahn has in fact assumed a role of absolute importance in the public debate on the pandemic. And not only as a permanent presence on talk shows, but also as an expert listened to at all levels, including scientific and medical: a media exposure that has also cost him an avalanche of death threats. “We will win the fight against the pandemic,” Lauterbach said under the Brandt statue. «The vaccine will continue to have a central role, but not only: in general it is essential to make the German health system more robust. “Most of the citizens of this country wished that the new health minister would respond to the name of Karl Lauterbach,” were Scholz’s words.
While Hubertus Heil, also Spd, is confirmed at the Ministry of Labor, the rest of the composition of the government is known: vice-chancellor and Minister of Economy and Climate will be the green Robert Habeck, his party colleague Cem Ozdemir will go to Agriculture, while , as widely anticipated, FDP leader Christian Lindner takes over from Scholz himself in the crucial finance ministry. Also from the liberal camp, Marco Buschmann will go to justice and the current general secretary of the party, Volker Wissing, will be the minister of traffic.
Another central appointment in the new executive is that of Wolfgang Schmidt, a loyalist of Olaf Scholz, as head of the chancellery in place of Helge Braun, in turn very close to Angela Merkel. While the quasi-neo minister Nancy Faesar wanted to announce that one of her main commitments will be “the fight against right-wing extremism”, it was Scholz who emphasized that “in this government, security is in the hands of strong women”, referring to the new holder of Defense Lambrecht, but also to the new Minister of the Interior. The last step for the formation of the “semaphore” executive (from the color of the parties that compose it: red for the SPD, green for the environmentalists and yellow for the liberals), at this point is the referendum in Habeck’s party and Baerbock. The approximately 125,000 members of the «Gruenen» had until 1pm today to express their opinion on the coalition contract signed with the SPD and the FDP, which have already been given the go-ahead for their respective extraordinary congresses in the last two days. The final appointment this Wednesday is the election to the Bundestag of Olaf Scholz as new chancellor after 16 years of Merkel’s ‘reign’: at that point, the “traffic light” turns green. However you see it, an epochal turning point.