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Beyond the World news headlines

Germany: a tale of two foreign ministers

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“Self-confident”, “smart” and “rhetorically brilliant” – just some of the adjectives the media have lavished upon Germany’s favourite politician as he has covered thousands of miles traversing the globe on his country’s behalf since Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new centre-right administration took office late last month.

But Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is not in charge of foreign affairs — a position usually associated with voter popularity. He is defence minister.

Already nicknamed ”the other foreign minister“, the 37-year-old Guttenberg, a conservative former economy minister who cut his teeth on foreign policy, has won praise for his fluency in English, his directness and his ability to outshine more powerful counterparts on the international stage.

Watching the aristocratic AC/DC fan from the sidelines has been the new foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, whom newspapers have mocked for adopting a cautious, defensive approach that critics say is more redolent of, well, a German defence minister.

Could the “Baron from Bavaria’s” success rock the coalition in Berlin?

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It was a weekend of mixed fortunes for the German
government’s aristocratic AC/DC fan Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.

    In Sunday’s federal election, the 37-year-old conservative
Economy Minister won 68.1 percent of the direct votes in his
constituency — more than any other politician in Germany, and
nearly 20 points more than Chancellor Angela Merkel — and
earning him the nickname “King of the votes” in German media.

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