German Social Democrats unveil Cabinet picks for new government

Sigmar Gabriel waves to the delegates as he receives the applause after his speech dur

Sigmar Gabriel waves to the delegates as he receives the applause after his speech dur

The Social Democrats have announced their six Cabinet picks for the new German government, as the party reprises its role as junior partner to Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union.

On Sunday, SPD agreed to form a coalition with Merkel's bloc of CDU/CSU, with 66 percent of SPD's members voted in favor of the grand coalition.

Maas introduced ambitious laws in his previous job that forced social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter to remove hate speech from their sites.

Mr Gabriel, who past year polled as Germany's most popular politician, posted on Twitter on Thursday morning that Ms Nahles and Olaf Scholz, the SPD's acting chairman, told him he would no longer have a ministerial post.

He is an outspoken critic of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), racist crime and anti-Semitism.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Chancellor Angela Merkel attend the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, March 7, 2018.

Germany's Social Democrats on Friday named acting Justice Minister Heiko Maas as foreign minister in the new coalition government with Christian Democrats. It is expected to split them evenly between men and women and there is pressure to have a representative from the former Communist East.

Katarina Barley, a 49-year-old who took over as family minister last year, will head the justice ministry.

Franziksa Giffey, the former mayor of Berlin's Neukölln district, will become family minister, and Svenja Schulze, secretary-general of the SPD's state party in North Rhine-Westphalia, will take over the environment ministry, replacing Barbara Hendricks. Gabriel has had tense relations with Andrea Nahles, one of the SPD's new leaders along with Olaf Sholz, and he said they had told him he would not be part of the government due to be sworn in next week.

"(Serving my party) has been a big honor for which I am deeply grateful", he said.

The infighting also included a public falling-out with then-party leader Martin Schulz, who was vying to get the foreign minister job.

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