Merkel to become German chancellor
Conservative leader Angela Merkel is set to become
Germany's first female chancellor.
She will get the job under a power-sharing agreement
that would end Social Democrat Gerhard Schroeder's
seven years in office, Social Democratic officials
But the Social Democrats extracted a high price for
Schroeder backing down; his party would get eight
seats in the Cabinet, compared to six for Merkel's
group, said the officials.
The deal must be approved by the parties and
The deal would end a three-week stand-off that began
when voters ousted Schroeder's ruling coalition of
Social Democrats and Greens, but failed to give a
majority to Merkel's preferred centre-right coalition.
That forced the Social Democrats and her Christian
Democrats to seek a power-sharing deal across the
Merkel forced Schroeder to drop his demand to be
chancellor, saying that as head of the party with the
largest number of seats the job belonged to her.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Social Democrats
would head the foreign, finance, labour, justice,
health, transport, environment and development
Merkel's Christian Democrats and their Bavaria-only
allies, the Christian Social Union, would get defence,
interior, agriculture, families and education.
The Christian Social Union head, Edmund Stoiber, would
become economy minister.