Following the resignation of Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, Chancellor Olaf Scholz is expected to announce his successor today.
Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil said yesterday evening on the ARD program "Hart aber fair" that the chancellor would announce the personal details quickly - "namely tomorrow". "There will be no deadlock," emphasized the SPD politician. The FDP defense politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann said in the ARD "Tagesthemen" with regard to Russia's aggressive war in Ukraine that the vacuum must be filled immediately.
Scholz: "I have a clear idea"
The defense minister, who had been criticized for months, wrote yesterday morning that she had asked Scholz to be released. The question of the successor initially remained unanswered. However, Scholz said: "I have a clear idea and it will become known very quickly to everyone how this should continue."
SPD leader Lars Klingbeil, head of the chancellery Wolfgang Schmidt and labor minister Heil as well as the military commissioner Eva Högl and the parliamentary state secretary in the defense ministry, Siemtje Möller, were discussed as possible candidates for the successor.
Heil did not comment clearly on the speculation last night, but emphasized personal plans in his current department. "In any case, as Minister of Labor I still have a lot planned," said the SPD politician on "Hart but fair".
It has not yet been officially announced when and how Scholz will announce the personnel decision. The Chancellor is expected to attend a meeting in Mainz this morning, and a visit to the Federal Office for Foreign Affairs in Brandenburg an der Havel is scheduled for midday.
Some construction sites
Lambrecht leaves the future department head with a whole series of construction sites. The modernization of the Bundeswehr, among other things with the help of the 100 billion euro special fund, is only just beginning. So far, only contracts for a good ten billion euros have been concluded. Chancellor Scholz announced the rearmament after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February last year.
It is also still unclear how the arms deliveries to Ukraine will continue. After the federal government recently decided to supply Marder armored personnel carriers, the current debates revolve around providing Leopard main battle tanks to the attacked country. Deficiencies in numerous weapon systems, such as the Puma infantry fighting vehicle, and difficulties in procuring ammunition are also permanent problems for the troops.
The orderly withdrawal from the UN mission Minusma in Mali is also on the agenda of the future "Ibuk", the holder of command and control authority. According to a decision by the federal government, this should happen by May 2024.
The women's organization of the SPD insisted on maintaining the parity composition of the federal cabinet - that is, an equal number of men and women as ministers. "A society that consists of more than 50 percent women must also be reflected in the cabinet," said the chairwoman of the working group of social democratic women, Maria Noichl, of the "Rheinische Post". "Fifty-fifty must continue to apply. That's what the SPD stands for."
Important dates this week
The CDU foreign policy expert Roderich Kiesewetter pointed out that representatives of Ukraine's western allies will meet at the US Ramstein Air Force base in Rhineland-Palatinate on Friday.
Whoever succeeds Lambrecht must "immediately take over the leadership and coordination of military support to Ukraine or at least end the German blockade," Kiesewetter told the newspapers of the Funke media group. "Because Germany should finally take the lead in coordinating a Leopard alliance in order to live up to its self-imposed claim to a leadership role."
Strack-Zimmermann, chairwoman of the Bundestag's Defense Committee, has repeatedly called for action on the battle tank issue. The linchpin remains the chancellery, she emphasized on ARD. She hopes that a decision will be made very quickly now. "The Europeans and also the NATO countries expect leadership from Germany."