World

Merkel's new partners present Cabinet members, bring back ex-foreign minister as top diplomat

Chairman of the  Social Democratic Party,SPD,  Sigmar Gabriel, front, a gives a statement  about  the result of the SPD member vote on the coalition agreement with Angela Merkel's  Christian Union Parties'  bloc in Berlin, Germany, Saturday Dec. 14, 2013.  Second left stands former foreign minister Frank-Walter Steimeier., at right Chief Whip Thomas Oppermann, attend.  Germany’s main center-left party cleared the way on Saturday for Angela Merkel to start her third term as chancellor, announcing that its members had voted by a large majority to join the conservative leader in government.  Some 76 percent of members who took part approved a deal to form a “grand coalition” government of right and left under Merkel and about 24 percent voted against. (AP Photo/dpa, Rainer Jensen)

Chairman of the Social Democratic Party,SPD, Sigmar Gabriel, front, a gives a statement about the result of the SPD member vote on the coalition agreement with Angela Merkel's Christian Union Parties' bloc in Berlin, Germany, Saturday Dec. 14, 2013. Second left stands former foreign minister Frank-Walter Steimeier., at right Chief Whip Thomas Oppermann, attend. Germany’s main center-left party cleared the way on Saturday for Angela Merkel to start her third term as chancellor, announcing that its members had voted by a large majority to join the conservative leader in government. Some 76 percent of members who took part approved a deal to form a “grand coalition” government of right and left under Merkel and about 24 percent voted against. (AP Photo/dpa, Rainer Jensen)  (The Associated Press)

Chancellor Angela Merkel's new coalition partners are bringing back a former foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, as Germany's top diplomat in a government team that combines familiar faces with newcomers.

The center-left Social Democrats will have six ministers in the conservative Merkel's 16-member Cabinet. Party leader Sigmar Gabriel will become vice chancellor and economy minister, with new powers to oversee Germany's transition from nuclear to renewable energy.

Gabriel presented the ministers Sunday. He described Steinmeier, who was foreign minister from 2005-9, as "perhaps Germany's most distinguished foreign policy expert."

A deputy party leader with Turkish roots, Aydan Ozuguz, will become the government official responsible for immigrant issues, a job that's one rung below Cabinet rank.

Parliament is expected to elect Merkel for a third term as chancellor Tuesday.