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Cablegate: Baden-Wuerttemberg Cabinet Shuffle Raises Eyebrows

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS FRANKFURT 006002

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ECON PINR TBIO GM
SUBJECT: Baden-Wuerttemberg Cabinet Shuffle Raises Eyebrows

Reftel: 04 Frankfurt 5551

Sensitive but unclassified: not for internet distribution.

1. (U) SUMMARY: Baden-Wuerttemberg (B-W) Minister President
Erwin Teufel (Christian Democrat/CDU) has restructured the
state cabinet following the retirement of Interior Minister
Thomas Schaeuble (CDU) and State Minister of Economics
Walter Doering's (FDP) resignation amid scandal. Teufel
took a chance on a major restructuring in order to bring
more women and younger politicians into the cabinet.
Lucrative public-sector jobs for retiring ministers and
Teufel's unwillingness to declare his own future intentions
have sparked criticism within the party. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) On July 8, Teufel announced the new CDU cabinet
members. Heribert Rech, currently Schaeuble's State
Secretary (2001-present), will become Interior Minister.

SIPDIS
Current State Secretary Stefan Mappus will become minister
for environment and transportation, replacing incumbent
Ulrich Mueller. Federal Parliament (Bundestag) delegate/CDU
national executive board member Tanja Goenner will become
minister for social affairs (replacing Friedhelm Repnick).
Teufel also appointed three new state secretaries (all CDU):
Friedlinde Gurr-Hirsch (Ministry of Agriculture), Dieter
Hillebrand (Ministry of Environment and Transportation), and
Wolfgang Reinhardt (Finance Ministry). NOTE: Following
Economics Minister Doering's resignation in June, the FDP
nominated state caucus chief Ernst Pfister as new economics
minister (reftel).

3. (U) Prior to the cabinet restructuring, Teufel had agreed
to make Schaeuble CEO of the Rothaus Brewery (a highly
profitable state-owned enterprise in the Black Forest region
near Schaeuble's hometown). Teufel offered Repnick the CEO
position at the B-W state lottery (Lotto-Totto GmbH).
Repnick, who initially resisted leaving government, agreed
to accept Teufel's generous job offer. The golden
parachutes sparked protests from party circles including the
B-W Young Conservatives (Junge Union) and the Association of
Taxpayers. CDU contacts privately expressed concern that
these moves will expose the party to charges of cronyism.

4. (U) With the appointment of Goenner and Mappus as
ministers, Teufel increased the representation of women and
rejuvenated his cabinet, since Goenner (34 years) and Mappus
(38 years) are considerably younger than the average cabinet
minister. The reshuffle has fueled the smoldering
successorship debate, as the B-W conservative women's
association and the CDU labor wing called on Teufel, who
turns 65 in September, to announce his retirement plans.
Christian Baeumer (head of the CDU labor wing and close ally
of CDU caucus chief/heir apparent Guenther Oettinger)
demanded that Teufel put his cards on the table by October.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: Political observers in the region see the
cabinet reshuffle as a sign that Teufel wants to continue
beyond the 2006 state elections -- but if Teufel intended to
gain some political buffer as a result of this reshuffle, he
did not achieve his goal. In fact, the nominations have
created a mini-political inferno in the state. The decision
to award lucrative jobs in state-owned enterprises to
departing officials caused an outcry at a time of high
unemployment and constant cutbacks of social benefits. Some
CDU activists predict a backlash at election time. Media
and some party insiders are beginning to question whether
Teufel is starting to lose his political instincts,
suggesting thirteen years in power may have created a sense
of omnipotence and a loss of grounding in reality. END
COMMENT.

BODDE

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