Michael Mueller (L), deputy president of the Bundesrat and Berlin's head of government, hands over the appointment certificate to incoming German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, during a ceremony for the appointment of German Defense Minister at the Bellevue Palace in Berlin, capital of Germany, July 17, 2019. The leader of the German ruling party Christian Democratic Union (CDU) , Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, was appointed new German Minister for Defense on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Shan Yuqi)
BERLIN, July 17 (Xinhua) -- The leader of the German conservative CDU party, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, was appointed new German Minister for Defense on Wednesday.
The Bundestag will meet next Wednesday for a special session to swear in Kramp-Karrenbauer as new German defense minister, a spokesperson from the Bundestag administration confirmed.
Kramp-Karrenbauer received her certificate of appointment at Bellevue Castle in Berlin from the deputy president of the Bundesrat and Berlin's head of government, Michael Mueller, in place of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who was on vacation.
Kramp-Karrenbauer will be replacing Ursula von der Leyen as German defense minister after von der Leyen was elected as new President of the European Commission. Von der Leyen received her discharge certificate from Mueller in Berlin.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel had already announced that she would quickly find a successor to von der Leyen in order to avoid a vacancy in the German defense ministry.
"The Federal Ministry of Defense, the Minister of Defense, is the holder of command and authority. You cannot leave that open for long," said Merkel on Tuesday.
Merkel also committed herself to gender parity and said that the proportion of women in the cabinet would "not be reduced" by the replacement.
The fact that Kramp-Karrenbauer took over the German defense ministry came as a surprise because many German newspapers had assumed that Health Minister Jens Spahn would be getting the position.
Further, Kramp-Karrenbauer had always said that she did not want to be part of Chancellor Merkel's cabinet but wanted to concentrate on her tasks as leader of the CDU.
"I deliberately decided to move from a state office to a party office. There is a lot to do in the CDU," Kramp-Karrenbauer recently told the German newspaper Bild.
Leader of the Bavarian CSU, Markus Soeder described Kramp-Karrenbauer's nomination as "the best and strongest solution" because she was equipped with "the power to move things forward" as CDU party leader.
"This is a courageous decision, but it is also a strong decision," Soeder said, adding that it represented a commitment to the Bundeswehr and to international security.
The Green security politician Tobias Lindner told the Passauer Neue Presse that the new leadership in the defense ministry should "urgently repair the damaged relationship with the troops" in the German armed forces.
Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, defense politician for the German liberal FDP, said that Kramp-Karrenbauer's credibility as defense minister was damaged right from the start.
"After weeks of refusing to join the government, she will now become minister of defense of all things," criticized Strack-Zimmermann.