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Cablegate: Germany/Bavaria: Csu Hopes for Fresh Start with New And

VZCZCXRO0414
PP RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHYG
DE RUEHMZ #0355 3051435
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 311435Z OCT 08
FM AMCONSUL MUNICH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4548
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEU/EU INTEREST COLLECTIVE
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS MUNICH 000355

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV EINV INRB GM
SUBJECT: GERMANY/BAVARIA: CSU HOPES FOR FRESH START WITH NEW AND
YOUNGER FACES IN CABINETAND A DYNAMIC SECRETARY GENERAL

1. (SBU) Newly-elected Bavarian Minister-President Horst Seehofer
(Christian Social Union - CSU) elevated youthful, female, and fresh
faces in the presentation of his surprising cabinet choices on
October 30. In a canny move, he also chose 36-year-old Bundestag
member Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg as CSU Secretary General. This
makes zu Guttenberg effectively the spokesman, television
personality, and advisor to the CSU leadership. He is also a Berlin
player, serving as the CSU's main foreign policy expert and member
of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee. (Note: While zu
Guttenberg likely will choose to retain his Bundestag seat, his
office at CSU headquarters in Munich told us said it is not clear
whether he will remain on the Foreign Affairs Committee or switch to
a committee oriented toward domestic affairs. End note.)
Seehofer's choice underlines the CSU's claim to be more than just a
regional party, particularly in view of the 2009 European Parliament
and federal elections. The group (para 4 below) needs to appeal to
skeptical citizenry if the CSU hopes to do better in European and
Bundestag elections in 2009.

2. (SBU) Complicating Seehofer's and the new cabinet's task is the
new presence of three members of the coalition member Free
Democratic Party (FDP) (one is a State Secretary), who will make
their own attempts to strike a favorable profile. In all, Seehofer
replaced sixteen of the eighteen cabinet positions with eight
newcomers. He could be accused of ageism since he dismissed all CSU
cabinet members over 60 years old, thus drastically reducing the
government's age average below 50. Five cabinet members are women.
Notably, the Landtag also elected its first female President, the
64-year-old Barbara Stamm.

3. (SBU) The new Bavarian cabinet will consist of the following
members, all CSU unless otherwise noted as FDP:

-Minister President: Horst Seehofer, 59, Upper Bavaria, elected on
October 27 (new);
-Minister of Economics and Deputy Minister President: Martin Zeil
(FDP), 52, Upper Bavaria (new);
--MOE State Secretary: Katja Hessel (FDP), 36, Middle Franconia
(new);
-Minister of Interior: Joachim Herrmann, 52, Middle Franconia (the
incumbent);
-MOI State Secretary: Bernd Weiss, 40, Lower Franconia (new);
-Minister for Labor and Social Affairs: Christine Haderthauer, 47,
Upper Bavaria (new, formerly General Secretary of the CSU);
--State Secretary: Markus Sackmann, 47, Upper Palatinate (new);
-Minister at the Bavarian State Chancery: Siegfried Schneider, 52,
Upper Bavaria (new);
-Minister for European and Federal Affairs: Emilia Mueller, 56,
Upper Palatinate (new);
-Minister of Finance: Georg Fahrenschon, 40, Upper Bavaria (new);
--MOF State Secretary: Franz Josef Pschierer, 52, Suabia (new);
-Minister of Environment: Markus Soeder, 41, Middle Franconia
(new);
--MOEnv State Secretary: Melanie Huml, 33, Upper Franconia (new);
-Minister of Agriculture: Helmut Brunner, 54, Lower Bavaria (new);

-Minister of Justice: Dr. Beate Merk, 51, Suabia;
-Minister of Science: Dr. Wolfgang Heubisch (FDP), 62, Upper Bavaria
(new);
-Minister of Culture and Education: Ludwig Spaenle, 47, Upper
Bavaria;
--MOC&Ed State Secretary: Dr. Marcel Huber, 50, Upper Bavaria
(new).

(NOTE: Diplopedia has biographies on German political figures at:
xxxxx and then search for Germany
Biographies.

4. (SBU) Comment: Seehofer's cabinet is mainly remarkable for its
youthful representation. We view the surprise nomination of
Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg as Secretary General as a clever move,
particularly in view of the CSU's claim of being more than just a
regional Bavarian party. Zu Guttenberg is a foreign policy expert,
a transatlanticist and a close and well-known friend to the United
States and Mission Germany.

5. (U) Consulate General Munich coordinated this report with
Embassy Berlin.

6. (U) Track Munich reporting at at
xxxxx

Crockart

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