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Germany's Social Democrat finance minister

Oct. 13, 2005 at 8:47 AM

BERLIN, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- A majority of the 14 German Cabinet positions -- including Finance minister -- have gone to Social Democrats rather than the party with more legislative seats.

Although Christian Democrat Angela Merkel won a narrow victory over incumbent Social Democrat Gerhard Schroeder in national elections Sept. 18, she has agreed to give the left-leaning party a majority of government portfolios in exchange for their joining her coalition.

Peer Steinbrueck, former Social Democrat leader of North Rhine-Westphalia, is the new Finance minister, the Deutsche Welle reported Thursday.

The move heightens speculation that the conservative Merkel will be unable to deliver on campaign promises to reform Germany's stagnant economy and lower its double-digit unemployment.

The last time the two parties attempted to govern jointly was in the 1960s.

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