Germany's new cabinet
Following the approval by members of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) of a grand coalition with the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU), the two parties announced their cabinet picks on Sunday.
Merkel's third term
What was already quite clear after the federal elections is now a certainty: Angela Merkel will continue as German chancellor for another term, heading a grand coalition made up of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavarian sister party (CSU), and the Social Democratic Party (SPD). The same coalition was in power during Merkel's first term as chancellor, from 2005 to 2009.
SPD chairman Sigmar Gabriel has been hailed as "superminister" by the German press. He will now lead the newly created Economy and Energy Ministry, overseeing the national strategy to transition from nuclear and coal-based energy to renewables. Gabriel is also to be vice-chancellor.
Back to the foreign office
The role of foreign minister will be filled by Frank-Walter Steinmeier, former chairman of the SPD parliamentary group. He held the same position during Angela Merkel's first term as chancellor (2005 to 2009), and served as vice-chancellor from 2007 to 2009. He ran for chancellor in the 2009 federal elections, but Merkel defeated him.
Merkel's go-to guy: Thomas de Maizière is considered versatile and has reliably supported the chancellor. After enduring harsh criticism as defense minister, he'll now take over the post of interior minister. This will be familiar territory, since he was interior minister from 2009 to 2011.
First female defense minister
It was already quite certain that Ursula von der Leyen would belong to the new cabinet - but news that the former labor minister would head the defense ministry came as something of a surprise. The job is bound to be tough for the mother of seven. Structural reforms for the armed forces are ongoing, and the ministry's spending has also recently been criticized.
Holding the finance line
The post of finance minister will continue to be occupied by Wolfgang Schäuble of the CDU. At 71, Schäuble is the oldest minister in the cabinet, and the longest-serving government member. He was head of the chancellery under Helmut Kohl in 1984. He has been in a wheelchair since surviving an assassination attempt in 1990.
Labor domain for Nahles
Andrea Nahles will be labor and social affairs minister. She's on the SPD's left wing, and until now, has been the party's general secretary. She recently injected some humor into a parliamentary session by quoting and singing a children's song during a speech to criticize the current government.
Suddenly in the limelight
One of the more surprising additions to the new cabinet is Heiko Maas of the SPD, who will become the minister for justice and consumer protection. Maas has until now been less well known on the political scene. In 2004 and 2009, he lost to CDU candidates in his bid to become premier in the state of Saarland. He has been a member of the SPD's executive committee since 2001.
Even before the SPD's cabinet's announcement, it was widely known that Manuela Schwesig would become minister for family affairs, senior citizens, women and youth. At 39, she is the new cabinet's youngest member. She is currently minister for labor, gender equality and social affairs in the state government of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
From treasurer to minister
Until now, Barbara Hendricks has worked behind the scenes as federal treasurer of the SPD. In her new role as minister for the environment, she will be thrust into the political spotlight. The energy sector, however, will not fall under her responsibility - that is now part of the new Economy and Energy Ministry headed by Sigmar Gabriel.
Hermann Gröhe has gone from being Angela Merkel's campaign manager to minister of health. He showed he knew how to run a successful campaign and he's been rewarded with a cabinet post. He'll likely have some catching up to do - until now, Gröhe hasn't been known as a health expert.
Merkel's key aide
The new head of the German chancellery - and therefore one of the chancellor's closest associates - will be Peter Altmaier of the CDU, who until now served as environment minister. As head of the chancellery, he will also be in charge of coordinating the German intelligence service, taking over from Ronald Pofalla.
Feisty 'Internet minister'
Alexander Dobrindt of the CSU is not known for politeness - as his party's general secretary, he called Sigmar Gabriel "overweight and under-talented." The two will now be working together in the cabinet as Dobrindt becomes minister for transport and digital infrastructure. His ministry hasthe job of making the country'sinfrastructure fit for the future.
Professor heads education ministry
There's continuity at the education ministry as Johanna Wanka remains its head. She took over the ministry in February 2013 when her predecessor, Annette Schavan, resigned over accusations of plagiarism. Wanka, a mathematician, formerly lectured at the Merseburg University of Applied Sciences.
Some might consider it a demotion for former interior minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, who will now be overseeing Germany's food supply and agriculture. Friedrich was slammed for his handling of the NSA spying scandal. The CSU politician and lawyer will now be stepping somewhat out of the limelight as head of the agriculture ministry.
A new CSU face
Gerd Müller will be the new head of the German development ministry. As a former secretary in the agricultural ministry, he'll continue working on issues of economic development and cooperation. But most people will be seeing him for the first time.
First Turkish-heritage minister
Aydan Özoguz, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, will be the junior minister for migration, refugees and integration. The 46-year-old from Hamburg has been a parliamentarian since 2009, and was elected as SPD deputy head in 2011. Two of her brothers run an Islamist website, from which she has distanced herself.