Center-left nominates new speaker for German parliament

Center-left lawmaker Baerbel Bas is set to become the new speaker of Germany’s parliament

BERLIN -- Center-left lawmaker Baerbel Bas is set to become the new speaker of Germany's parliament, replacing conservative veteran and former Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble in one of the country's most prominent positions.

German political convention holds that the speaker's job goes to the biggest party in the Bundestag, with the other parties getting deputy speakers. The Social Democrats narrowly beat outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right Union bloc in the election.

That means Schaeuble, 79, will have to give up the speaker's job after four years. The longest-serving member of parliament, he has been a lawmaker since 1972. He also served twice as Germany's interior minister and as finance minister during the eurozone debt crisis.

Nominating Bas resolves a dilemma for the Social Democrats after Rolf Muetzenich, the head of their parliamentary group, was floated as a contender. With Merkel retiring, the party risked creating a situation in which all of Germany's top jobs — the president, chancellor, speakers of both houses of parliament and chief justice of the constitutional court — were held by men.

Many members of the party were keen to avoid an all-male lineup. Bas would be the Bundestag's third female speaker.

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