Karl Lauterbach to become Germany’s next Health Minister

Incoming German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) stands with next Health Minister Karl Lauterbach in Berlin.
Incoming German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) stands with next Health Minister Karl Lauterbach in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Michael Kappeler
The Social Democrats' Karl Lauterbach, who has emerged as a high profile yet sometimes controversial figure in the pandemic, is to become Germany's new Health Minister.

The SPD announced on Monday that Lauterbach will take over from outgoing Health Minister Jens Spahn who belongs to the Christian Democrats (CDU).

Lauterbach, 58, who is trained as a doctor and epidemiologist, has pushed for tough Covid restrictions throughout the pandemic, making him controversial to some. 

He has also been calling for stricter measures during the current fourth wave hitting Germany hard.

Commenting on his new appointment, Lauterbach said he was optimistic that Germany could overcome the Covid crisis.

He said the pandemic was far from over, but added: “We will manage it, though. Vaccination will play the central role, but not the only role. We will win the battle with the pandemic.”

Lauterbach said the health system would be strengthened and made more robust. “With us, there will be no cuts in health care services,” he said, adding that Germany would be equipped for any future pandemics.

Incoming Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced the newest appointments at the SPD headquarters in Berlin. Here’s how it looks:

The Labour and Social Affairs Ministry is to be headed up once more by incumbent Hubertus Heil.

The new Construction/Building Ministry will be led by Brandenburg SPD politician Klara Geywitz. Hesse politician Nancy Faeser is to become Interior Minister, taking over from the CSU’s Horst Seehofer.

Christine Lambrecht, the current Justice and Family Affairs Minister, is to take over the Ministry of Defence, stepping into the shoes of former CDU leader and Angela Merkel ally Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

READ ALSO: Petrolhead, novelist and trampolinist tipped for Germany’s post-Merkel cabinet

Svenja Schulze is set to become Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development. And Wolfgang Schmidt is to become the new Minister of the Chancellor’s Office.

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The new federal cabinet will be sworn in after the election of the new Chancellor, scheduled for Wednesday.

What about the other coalition partners?

The SPD is entering into a coalition government with the Greens and the Free Democrats (FDP).

The Greens occupy the Foreign Affairs Ministry and it will be headed up by Greens co-leader Annalena Baerbock.

READ ALSO: Annalena Baerbock to become Germany’s first woman foreign minister

The Ministry of Economy and Climate Protection has the next Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck at the helm. The Family Affairs Ministry will be led by Anne Spiegel. The Environment Ministry is headed up by Steffi Lemke, and the Agriculture Ministry by Cem Özdemir.

The FDP provide the Finance Minister (FDP leader Christian Lindner), the Transport Minister (Volker Wissing), the Justice Minister (Marco Buschmann) and the Education Minister (Bettina Stark-Watzinger).


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