BERLIN, July 16 (Xinhua) -- Germany's ruling party Christian Democratic Union(CDU) confirmed on Tuesday that Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer will become the new defense minister, media reported.
Deutsche Presse Agentur(DPA), citing CDU deputy chairman Thomas Strobl, reported that Kramp-Karrenbauer will succeed the newly-elected European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and the official appointment will be made on Wednesday.
The message came as a surprise since local media had already widely reported that Jens Spahn, current health minister, would be the successor.
The change was seen as a strong signal inside the political circles and no further reshuffle in the cabinet are planned after von der Leyen leaving to head the European Commission, according to DPA.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier in the day said the position of the defense minister could not be left unoccupied and a decision would come "very fast."
Kramp-Karrenbauer, aged 56, is the leader of CDU and widely seen as the successor of Merkel.
Spahn was the youngest member of the German parliament, having been elected in 2002 at the age of 22. He assumed office as health minister in March 2018 in Merkel's government.