There are some brief, but interesting portraits of the ministerial hopefuls on the homepage of the Tagesschau
Maybe worth noticing:
Frank Walter Steinmeyer (Now: Minister in the Office of the Chancellor, may be designed for the Foreign Office) is affectionately known as “Der Kanzlerflüsterer” (The Chancellor-Whisperer). He is not well known to a larger public but definitively one of Schröder’s closest advisers. So, yes, probably the closest one can get to having Schröder in the cabinet without actually having Schröder in the cabinet.
Horst Seehofer (CSU) was Minister of Health between 1992 and 1998 and one of two Union politicians tipped for the Family Ministry. What is interesting – and what I should have known – is that he supports the idea of introducing a Bürgerversicherung, i.e. a general public health insurance instead of the present segmented system, and that actually puts him closer to the SPD than the CDU – even if heath insurance isn’t under the Family portfolio.
With regard to Ursula von der Leyen – the CDU-hopeful for that portfolio – then her policy positions are less clear which is partly due to the fact that she only entered politics in 2001. It is mentioned that she participated in a CDU-workgroup on “Women, Family and Work” and that that work brought her to Angela Merkel’s attention. I looked at one of her articles and she does at least seem sympathetic to the idea of combining family and work, so maybe you could put her on the moderate left (in Germany, that is…) with regard to equal rights. It is mentioned that some in the CDU of Niedersachsen are uneasy about the idea of having her as minister in Berlin – too much of a lightweight, too dependent of Christian Wulff (?). And maybe also the … erm … genetic element?
The Finance Minister-designate Peer Steinbrück was head of the state government in Nordrhein-Westphalen between 2002 and 2005 and before that had a career on the state government level (both Schleswig-Holstein and Nordrhein-Westphalen). He has a somewhat technocratic reputation, but what may be worth noting is that he seems to have a good working relationship with the head of the state government in Hessen, Roland Koch (CDU), especially with regard to economic and industrial policy. Koch will not be going to Berlin, but is definitively one of the heavyweights within the CDU.
Note: This post was originally written as an e-mail for a colleague on October 13, 2005. It is posted here for purely historical reasons.