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Germany's upper house of parliament elects first female president

The upper house of Germany's parliament, the Bundesrat, has elected Hannelore Kraft to be its president for the next year. Kraft becomes the first woman to hold the Bundesrat presidency.

Hannelore Kraft

Kraft has broken many barriers in 2010

In a unanimous vote, Germany's upper house of parliament has elected Hannelore Kraft to be its president for the next year. Kraft's nomination makes her the first woman to head the Bundesrat, which represents Germany's 16 states at the federal level.

Kraft is a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), which is in the minority at the national level. She became the premier of Germany's most populous state, North-Rhine Westphalia, earlier this year after a very closely contested election that saw the SPD make significant gains.

Constitutionally, the Bundesrat president ranks below the federal president and acts as his or her substitute. Current Bundesrat president Jens Boehrnsen served as federal president in this capacity for one month after former president Horst Koehler stepped down in May.

Boehrnsen called the Bundesrat's decision to nominate Kraft 'historic.'

"What's normal in society has finally reached another governmental organ," he said.

Kraft is scheduled to take over the Bundesrat presidency on November 1. The term traditionally lasts one year.

Author: Matt Zuvela (dapd/dpa)
Editor: Rob Turner

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