The conservative Christian Democrat (CDU) and former state finance minister garnered the backing of 66 MPs in the first round of voting in Saxony’s parliament – three more than necessary in the 124-seat legislature. The governing coalition of conservatives and centre-left Social Democrats has 68 MPs, but one CDU parliamentary wasn’t present due to illness.
Tillich was immediately inaugurated by the parliament. He spoke the phrase “So help me God” in both German and his native Slavic tongue Sorbian after accepting the vote. He is the first member of the tiny ethnic minority in eastern Germany to hold such a high political office. He is also the first person from the former communist east to govern Saxony after German reunification in 1990.
The 49-year-old Tillich takes over from embattled former premier Georg Milbradt, who resigned in April amid mounting criticism of the Christian Democrat’s seemingly hapless leadership of the state. The 63-year-old Milbradt came under pressure to step down following his handling of a financial crisis surrounding the state’s investment bank Sachsen LB.
The bank was sold last year to the Landesbank Baden-Württemberg after making bad investments, but Saxony had to make guarantees totalling €2.75 billion. Milbradt has also come under fire for failing to explain a private loan from Sachsen LB for €172,000 for investments made by him and his wife.