Germany appoints lockdown hardliner as health minister in new gender-balanced cabinet

Mr Scholz is set to hold a parliamentary vote on a nationwide vaccine mandate early in the new year.  

Mr Scholz suggested on Monday Lauterbach’s public profile, which has risen in prominence in Germany during the Covid pandemic, had helped him clinch the post.

“Most of the citizens of this country have certainly wished that the next health minister would be a specialist, would be about to do a good job and would be named Karl Lauterbach,” Scholz told the press at the Social Democrat’s Berlin headquarters.

The bow-tie-wearing Lauterbach has frequently been critical of the approach of outgoing Health Minister Jens Spahn, the man who he will succeed when sworn in on Wednesday.

Scholz has kept a pre-election promise to ensure his cabinet is gender balanced.

The 16 members of Scholz’s cabinet will include eight women and eight men, the country’s first gender-balanced cabinet.

Scholz said he was proud that the traditionally male-dominated interior ministry, defence and construction portfolios would be overseen by women.  

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