Merkel's conservatives replace farm minister who quit over leak

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 17, 2014 6:56 AM

BERLIN (Reuters) - Angela Merkel's Bavarian allies on Monday chose defense expert Christian Schmidt to replace the agriculture minister who quit the German chancellor's cabinet after leaking information about a lawmaker being investigated for possessing child pornography.

Schmidt comes from the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Merkel's Christian Democrats, as does Hans-Peter Friedrich, who was forced to resign last Friday for leaking information to the SPD when he was interior minister.

German head of state Joachim Gauck will swear in the new minister later on Monday, the president's office said.

Schmidt, 56, was a deputy defense minister from 2005 to the end of last year, when he was named deputy development minister in the new coalition government between the conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD).

(Reporting by Stephen Brown; editing by Erik Kirschbaum)