By Ayhan Simsek
BERLIN (AA) - Chancellor Angela Merkel has unveiled her picks for Cabinet ministers, ahead of a special party congress of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) on Monday, which would vote on forming a "grand coalition" government with Social Democrats.
Speaking at a press conference in Berlin on Sunday evening, Merkel announced that a majority of the ministerial posts would be filled by new faces in the coalition government.
She named Jens Spahn, a young conservative politician and an outspoken critic of her migration policy, as the new health minister.
Julia Kloeckner, a popular conservative politician, was named as the agriculture minister.
Merkel's other Cabinet picks for her CDU party included Anja Karliczek as education minister and Helge Braun as her chief of staff and federal minister for special tasks.
Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has been the only conservative politician whose post was unchanged.
Merkel named her top aide Peter Altmaier as the economy minister.
The chancellor was heavily criticized within the CDU, and especially by the party's youth wing, for giving too many concessions to the Social Democrats during the coalition negotiations.
As part of the compromise, Merkel’s CDU had to give up key ministerial posts.
The Social Democratic Party (SPD), which had been reluctant to enter a new coalition with conservatives, gained six ministerial posts, including the Foreign, Justice, Finance, and Labor ministries.
Merkel’s Bavarian ally, the Christian Social Union (CSU), secured four ministries, including the Interior Ministry.
The Christian Democrats will gather at a special party congress in Berlin on Monday and vote on the coalition deal agreed between the leaders of the CDU/CSU and SPD earlier this month.
A postal ballot of SPD’s 460,000 members on the coalition deal began on Feb. 20 and will end on March 2.
The SPD’s left-wing and the party’s youth organization, Jusos, have long opposed a coalition government with the Christian Democrats.