In Germany, a little-known regional elected official appointed Minister of Defense

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In Germany, a little-known regional elected official appointed Minister of Defense

Germany has a new defense minister, a position particularly exposed in the context of the war in Ukraine. Boris Pistorius was appointed on Tuesday, thus entering the government.

A seasoned regional elected official, this 62-year-old social democrat, almost unknown at the national level, replaces Christine Lambrecht who resigned on Monday after a series of blunders. Interior Minister of Lower Saxony since 2013, he is a “highly experienced politician, proven in administration, who has been dealing with security policy for years”, said Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Meetings Thursday and Friday on Ukraine

The reshuffle comes as Germany comes under pressure from several allied countries, primarily Poland, to deliver German-made Leopard heavy tanks to kyiv. A crucial meeting on the subject of Western defense ministers, around the United States, will also be held on Friday in Germany. Boris Pistorius will also welcome US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to Berlin on Thursday, just after taking office.

His political opponents in Germany were quick to open a controversy on Tuesday over comments made in 2018 to question Western sanctions against Russia, recalling how the Social Democratic Party has long supported a policy of rapprochement with Moscow. . “Here is another member of the Russia-connection who takes his place in the Council of Ministers”, declared a conservative opposition MP, Tilman Kuban, to the daily. Picture.

The person concerned rejected these criticisms in the same newspaper. “I did not criticize the sanctions as such or their purpose, but questioned, like many others, their effectiveness,” he noted. “The current sanctions are not comparable with those of the time and they are effective,” he added.

His appointment is actually a surprise because he did not belong to the circle of potential candidates cited by the press. Above all, the attribution of this portfolio again to a man, after three women in this position since 2013, calls into question Olaf Scholz’s promise to maintain parity in the government he has led since December 2021, causing a stir. in the coalition parties between social democrats, ecologists and liberals.

A specialist in cybersecurity issues

Like his predecessor, Boris Pistorius is a lawyer by training and comes from the Chancellor’s political party. He specializes in issues of cybersecurity, homeland security and migration policy. In recent years, he had made no secret of his national ambitions. His attempt to accede to the presidency of the Social Democratic Party in 2019 had however failed. Then in 2021, he was considered a potential candidate for a ministerial post when the government was formed. But there too, he came out empty-handed.

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