The Germans – or at least some of them – have a strangely fetishistic relationship with the Federal Ministry of Trade and Industry. Or Bundeswitschaftsministerium, if you please. The Bundeswirtschaftministerium is linked with the idea of Ordnungspolitik – another German term which is instrinsically difficult to translate.
In later decades, the BWM has been headed by such political notables as … er, yes … and … uhm … not to mention … whatshisnameagain?
In 2005 Edmund Stoiber, loser of the 2001 federal elections, was slated to become Bundeswirtschaftsminister but chickened out at the last moment. Perhaps because he realised that he would be playing second fiddle to Angela Merkel and that the post wouldn’t give him a national platform. Instead, faithful party solider Michael Glos was handed the unenviable task.
Glos was generally considered a non-entity on the post and with eight months to go, he decided to throw in the towel. Only to be told by his party leader that he wasn’t allowed to leave the government.
For obvious reasons, having a politically dead man at the head of an, at least symbolically, important government office is not a realistic option, even in Germany where politics are often very strange indeed, and as there are no ways of keeping a minister in office if he doesn’t want to stay there, Glos will probably be gone very soon, leaving CSU chairman and Bavarian prime minister Horst Seehofer with a bit of a headache.