Germany gets its 1st female defense minister

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Associated Press

Posted on December 15, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Updated Sunday, Dec 15 at 3:02 PM

BERLIN (AP) — Germany will get its first female defense minister in Chancellor Angela Merkel's new government, while the country's influential finance minister will stay in his job.

Merkel confirmed Sunday that Ursula von der Leyen, currently labor minister, will become defense chief. The 55-year-old mother of seven inherits the job of modernizing the German military and overseeing its deployment in Afghanistan.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, Merkel's co-pilot in fighting Europe's debt crisis, will stay on.

Merkel's conservative Union bloc has 10 of 16 seats in the new Cabinet, expected to take office Tuesday. The center-left Social Democrats also presented their ministers Sunday, with former Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier returning to his old job.

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