Full steam ahead

In North Rhine-Westphalia, the sexes now share power in the red-green minority government. "I am proud to be able to present a cabinet with equal numbers of men and women," said Minister President Hannelore Kraft in Dusseldorf on Thursday. Cabinet offers no surprises, however.

The equal distribution between male and female members of the government is probably unique in Germany. All cabinet colleagues would have "NRW experience". This "good team" will have the support of the citizens. The CDU opposition called the staff a "cabinet without luster".Including Kraft, the state government thus includes six women and six men. There were only three women in the cabinet of the previous black-yellow government, which also had twelve members.The minority coalition's ministerial team was then sworn in at the North Rhine-Westphalia state parliament by Parliament Speaker Eckhard Uhlenberg (CDU). Then the cabinet took a seat on the government bench. Kraft did not yet introduce a head of the state chancellery. According to the state government, he is due to be beatified on Friday (16. July) as well as other secretaries of state will be named.Finance Minister will be Cologne treasurer and former spokesman for ex-Prime Minister Johannes Rau, Norbert Walter-Borjans (SPD). Minister for Europe, Media and Bundesrat Affairs is former Bundestag member Angelica Schwall-Duren (SPD).Sylvia Lohrmann (Greens) becomes deputy prime minister and minister of education. The Greens also provide the departments of environment and climate protection (Johannes Remmel) and health (Barbara Steffens). A parliamentary state secretary for transport in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy, Building, Housing and Transport, Horst Becker, was also appointed from the ranks of the Greens.The separation of office and mandate normally practiced by the Green Party had been suspended with the approval of the Green Party's state party conference last weekend. All Green ministers remain members of state parliament. The reason given for this was that it could not be ruled out that the Social Democrats might enter into a grand coalition after all in the medium term.Minister of the Interior becomes Ralf Jager (SPD) and Minister of Justice Thomas Kutschaty (SPD). Harry Voigtsberger (SPD) is new economy minister. Svenja Schulze (SPD) takes over the science portfolio. As expected, DGB state leader Guntram Schneider (SPD) is the new labor minister.Kraft was elected on Wednesday in the Dusseldorf state parliament as the successor to the previous Minister President Jurgen Ruttgers (CDU) as the first female head of government in the history of the state of NRW. Black and yellow had won the state elections on 9. May lost. SPD and Greens now form a minority government.CDU faction leader Karl-Josef Laumann complained that "important names of social democracy" were missing from the cabinet. "Because their own comrades don't believe in the future of the minority government, they turned down Ms. Kraft," the opposition leader said. "Thus, a coalition agreement that does not develop a vision is followed by a cabinet that does not convey splendor," he added. NRW CDU Secretary General Andreas Krautscheid called the new government members a "third choice".The citizens of North Rhine-Westphalia, on the other hand, are quite positive about the chances of the red-green minority government. In North Rhine-Westphalia, 38 percent believe the coalition led by Kraft will last until the end of the legislative period in five years, according to a poll published Thursday by the Emnid polling institute for news channel N24. 40 percent believe that the new state government will exist for at least one to two years (39 percent nationwide). For the survey, about 1,000 NRW citizens were representatively interviewed on Wednesday.

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