Page last updated at 11:42 GMT, Monday, 9 February 2009

Germany gets new economy minister

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg
Mr Zu Guttenberg has long been considered a rising star

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is to become Germany's new economy minister, following the surprise resignation of his predecessor Michael Glos.

Mr Zu Guttenberg has been proposed by his party, the Bavarian-based Christian Social Union (CSU), and his appointment is due to be a formality.

At 37-years-old, he will become the youngest ever person to fill the role.

The CSU is part of the coalition government led by Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats.

Mr Zu Guttenberg, already a senior member of the CSU, is considered to be one of the rising stars of German politics.

"He is young, very young - but that is exactly what I want in the process of renewal," said CSU leader Horst Seehofer.

'Politically embarrassing'

Ms Merkel said on Monday morning that she would accept the resignation of Mr Glos.

Former economy minister Michael Glos
Michael Glos' resignation came as a shock to many commentators

Mr Glos, 64, said he was resigning for personal reasons, adding that he did not wish to remain in the cabinet following September's federal elections.

However, the BBC's Steve Rosenberg in Berlin said his departure was ill-timed.

"The resignation of the country's economy minister at a time when Germany is facing its worst recession for 60 years is embarrassing for his political allies - and that includes Chancellor Merkel," said our correspondent.

There is also some speculation that infighting in the CSU - of which Mr Glos is also a member - may have been a contributory factor in his departure.

Mr Glos had been widely criticised for not doing enough to help the economy.



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