Germany set to have two female leaders
Published 03/06/2010 | 05:00
GERMANY is on course to be ruled by two women after a mother of seven emerged as the favourite to become the country's president alongside the chancellor Angela Merkel.
Ursula von der Leyen (51) is Ms Merkel's preferred choice to become Germany's first female head of state, replacing Horst Koehler, who resigned on Monday.
Ms von der Leyen, who has held cabinet posts since Ms Merkel became the first woman German chancellor in 2005, is currently the federal minister of labour and social affairs.
She made her name as family minister by campaigning against child pornography, expanding child-care provision and pushing through new benefits for parents taking time off work to bring up children.
Her popular but modern family-oriented policies have made Ms von der Leyen the favourite presidential choice among Ms Merkel's Christian Democrat-led coalition. Mr Koehler, a Christian Democrat, shocked Germany after resigning over comments suggesting that German military involvement in the Afghanistan war was driven by selfish economic motives.
His sudden departure led to a new crisis for Ms Merkel's conservative-liberal coalition which has been badly damaged by its slow response to the eurozone debt crisis. Germany's new president, a largely ceremonial post, will be chosen on June 30. (© Daily Telegraph, London)