Merkel's favoured successor to become German defence minister

German Chancellor Angela Merkel salutes with beer the 500 years anniversary of the German beer purity requirements in Ingolstadt southern Germany

The defense ministry offers Kramp-Karrenbauer, 56, who has served as governor of Saarland state but not in the federal government, a chance to gain foreign and security policy experience.

Kramp-Karrenbauer, 56, narrowly won the leadership of Merkel's centre-right Christian Democratic Union party (CDU) past year and had no cabinet role, a reason given by some opponents for objecting to her as a candidate for the chancellorship.

The decision had Merkel's blessing.

When Chanceller Merkel was voted "Person of the Year" by Time magazine in 2015 due to her humanitarian stance on the refugee crisis - the publication also dubbed her the "Chancellor of the Free World" - the cover image was an oil painting by Irish artist Colin Davidson.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, best known to Germans as "AKK", will be appointed on Wednesday during a handover in Berlin with her predecessor von der Leyen and the first vice president of the Bundesrat upper house, which confirmed the news in a statement.

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Her supporters feel the CDU chair alone will not give her enough of a platform.

Angela Merkel celebrates her sixty fifth birthday on Wednesday, but no matter speculation about her health she intends to defend chancellor unless the head of her most modern term in 2021. Kramp-Karrenbauer's move to take the job avoids giving a potential rival more exposure.

Mrs Merkel has most frequently acknowledged she feels excellent-attempting, that she is perfectly in a position to doing her job and that there may maybe be nothing to pain about.

Germany's outgoing defense minister Ursula von der Leyen secured the backing of the European parliament on Tuesday to be elected president of the EU Commission.

But Kramp-Karrenbauer, widely seen as the long-serving chancellor's favoured candidate to succeed her, now has no government role, a reason critics have given in the past to oppose her possible rise to the chancellorship.

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