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Updated: June 2, 2010 20:48 IST

German labour minister touted as first female president

DPA
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German Labor Minister Ursula von der Leyen smiles at the beginning of a meeting of the cabinet at the chancellery in Berlin on Wednesday. Photo: AP.
German Labor Minister Ursula von der Leyen smiles at the beginning of a meeting of the cabinet at the chancellery in Berlin on Wednesday. Photo: AP.

German Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen, long one of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s most popular cabinet members, has emerged as a potential favourite for the recently vacated presidency, a survey Wednesday showed.

Former president Horst Koehler resigned on Monday following criticism of remarks he made about the role of the military.

A survey carried out by pollsters YouGov for the Bild newspaper showed Ms. von der Leyen as gaining the most votes amongst the 1,000 participants, with 34 per cent saying she would be the best candidate.

The 51—year—old Brussels—born politician previously served as Minister of Family Affairs, where she presided over the introduction of a highly—popular child support payments scheme.

A medical doctor by training, Ms. von der Leyen is the mother of seven children.

The next most favoured candidate in the poll was Lower Saxony premier Christian Wulff, followed by current Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

The next president is most likely to come from Chancellor Merkel’s own party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

The largely ceremonial post of president is elected by a special body known as a Federal Council, which comprises the entire membership of the parliament, plus an equal number of representatives nominated by the 16 federal states.

An election for the post is to be carried out on June 30.

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