PROFILE: Hans-Peter Friedrich, new German interior minister
Mar 2, 2011, 15:38 GMT
Berlin - Hans-Peter Friedrich, set to take over Thursday as Germany's new interior minister, is a Bavarian who only rose to national prominence in 2009 when he was elected leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU) group in the Bundestag parliament.
The choice of a CSU man for the job reflects a coalition contract that awards a set number of cabinet seats to the conservative, Bavaria-only party. But he also suits Merkel's buttoned-down style as a politician who prefers getting it right to a snappy sound-bite.
'I'm not one of those 'Hey everybody, look at me' type of people,' he once said.
CSU leaders in the Bundestag have traditionally been the attack dogs of German politics and clarion voices of the moderate right.
Not so Friedrich, who proved to be an arch-negotiator who can play rough but also wins bipartisan respect for his ability to forge policy deals that leave both sides satisfied. Merkel praised him, saying, 'We've worked together closely and in the greatest trust.'
Friedrich, 53, is a lawyer by training and is well prepared to handle key interior policy issues ranging from anti-terrorism policy to privacy issues and Germany's often agonized relations with immigrants.
On law and order, a regular CDU focus, Friedrich has been more moderate than others in his party. One of his first decisions will be whether to merge into one force the federal government's two police agencies. One polices the railways and the other investigates crime.
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