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Germany

Eichel: Steinbrück Will Succeed Me

German Finance Minister Hans Eichel said Thursday that the former state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, Peer Steinbrück, will succeed him. SPD leaders are expected to announce more cabinet posts later Thursday.

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After losing his old job in May, he's set to get a new one in Berlin

Going into the a meeting of the Social Democratic Party's leadership to discuss the new ministers in a grand coalition with the Christian Democrats under Angela Merkel's leadership, Eichel said that he would not keep the job he has held for six and a half years.

"No, you know the laws of politics," he said, adding that 58-year-old Steinbrück "will do it very well."

BdT: Eichel nun nicht mehr zu haben

Eichel will have more time for his new wife, Gabi Wolf-Eichel

He said he thought his finance policy proposals would be implemented under his sucessor, Reuters reported.

Steinbrück led Germany's most populous state from 2002 until earlier this year, when his governing red-green coalition lost power to Christian Democrats and free-market liberal Free Democrats. The election defeat caused German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to push for national elections.

Steinbrück is seen as a member of the SPD's right wing. He previously also served as North Rhine-Westphalia's finance minister.

New and old ministers

SPD leader Franz Münterfering is expected to officially announce his party's cabinet posts later in the day.

Franz Muentefering

Münterfering will take a seat across from Merkel

Münterfering himself is expected to become vice chancellor and labor minister while Frank Walter Steinmeier, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's chief-of-staff, is pegged to take over the foreign ministry.

Leipzig's Mayor Wolfgang Tiefensee will likely cover transportation issues in the new government while Sigmar Gabriel, the former premier of the state of Lower Saxony, is slated to become environment minister.

Current ministers who will probably keep their jobs include Health Minister Ulla Schmidt, Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries and Economic Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul.

The Christian Union parties have so far not named their ministers, but Merkel will take the chancellory and Bavarian Premier Edmund Stoiber will become economics minister.

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