Ger­many’s aus­ter­ity fi­nance min­is­ter to be Bun­destag speaker

The Guardian Weekly - - International News - Kate Con­nolly

Wolf­gang Schäu­ble, a man equally revered and re­viled for his aus­ter­ity eco­nom­ics, is to quit his pow­er­ful role as Ger­man fi­nance min­is­ter and be­come speaker of the par­lia­ment, his party has an­nounced.

Schäu­ble, 75, was asked to take on the role by the chan­cel­lor, An­gela Merkel, who wants some­one with author­ity to steer debate in the Bun­destag af­ter the suc­cess in last month’s elec­tion of the rad­i­cal Al­ter­na­tive für Deutsch­land (AfD), which is due to take up 94 seats, hav­ing won 12.6% of the vote. The AfD lead­er­ship has vowed to shake up the Bun­destag’s de­bat­ing cul­ture, mak­ing it much row­dier.

The post of speaker has been empty since Nor­bert Lam­mert, a vet­eran CDU MP, re­cently an­nounced he would retire at the end of the last par­lia­men­tary term. In terms of pro­to­col it ranks sec­ond only to that of fed­eral pres­i­dent and ahead of the chan­cel­lor, but in re­al­ity is less pow­er­ful than Schäu­ble’s cur­rent post.

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