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1ST LEAD Seehofer heads last Bavarian cabinet before joining Merkel government By Marco Hadem and Christoph Trost, dpa

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Munich (dpa) - Horst Seehofer, the head of the Bavaria‘s conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), presided over his last cabinet meeting as premier of the southern state on Tuesday before heading to Berlin to take up a post in the new federal coalition government.

Seehofer, a 68-year-old veteran of Bavarian politics, is to be sworn in as the head of a newly expanded Interior Ministry on Wednesday, after formally handing in his resignation as Bavarian premier at the beginning of last week.

Seehofer told his cabinet that Tuesday‘s meeting would proceed "no differently than in the past nine years and five months," with topics on the table including the state‘s labour market and its relationship with trading partners outside Germany.

Senior CSU politician Stefan Mueller said on Tuesday that Seehofer‘s expanded ministry, dubbed the Interior, Construction and Homeland Ministry, should include two parliamentary committees rather than one. Its expansion has come under fire from outgoing Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, who says it will become unwieldy.

Opinions within the CSU, which has dominated Bavarian politics in the post-war era, are sharply divided over Seehofer‘s decision to join the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Seehofer‘s relationship with his party has not been without conflict, with CSU members of the state parliament pushing him to stand back from campaigning once again in the state elections set for October 14.

Nevertheless, he has been voted party leader for a further two years.

Seehofer is one of three CSU ministers at federal level, with Andreas Scheuer taking the post of transport minister and Gerd Mueller remaining as development minister.

On Friday, Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Soeder is to be elected the state‘s 11th premier. Appointments have yet to be made to the key posts in the Bavarian government, with Soeder announcing his decisions only on March 21 after he has been sworn in.


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