Surprising election: Lower Saxony’s interior minister, Boris Pistorius, becomes the new defense minister and thus successor to Christine Lambrecht. This is reported by the German Press Agency from government circles.

Lower Saxony politician Boris Pistorius (SPD) takes over the post from Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht. Since February 2013, Pistorius has been Minister of the Interior and Sport in Lower Saxony under SPD Prime Minister Stephan Weil.

Since the first reports on Friday that Lambrecht wanted to give up her position as defense minister, speculation about a possible successor has been running high. SPD leader Lars Klingbeil, Labor Minister Hubertus Heil and the military commissioner Eva Högl were particularly popular.

Federal Economics Minister and Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck (Greens) still expected an equal number of cabinet members, because Scholz announced before taking office that the cabinet would be filled equally – half with men and half with women. “I haven’t heard that it was withdrawn,” said the Greens politician Habeck on Tuesday on Deutschlandfunk. It is still unclear to what extent Habeck was informed about the personnel in advance.

Pistorius has so far been committed to a tougher deportation policy for Islamist threats, the protection of police and rescue services, and IT security. The Interior Minister of Lower Saxony is considered an experienced political manager. In the past few years, Pistorius has gained a reputation as a knowledgeable specialist politician among the interior ministers of the federal and state governments. Even though he always stayed in Lower Saxony, he was also involved in the internal political positioning of the federal SPD in election campaigns and in coalition negotiations.

At the conferences of interior ministers, Pistorius, who is considered to be pragmatic, always visibly enjoyed arguing with conservatives like former interior minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) on the open stage, quick-witted, with pointed remarks, but never disrespectful. Perhaps Pistorius’ age also makes him the ideal candidate for the post of defense minister. At the age of 62, a politician can finally move into the executive office in the Bendlerblock, which is generally regarded as an ejection seat and therefore also as a potential career killer.

Pistorius was repeatedly said to have ambitions for a political office at the federal level. For example, there were rumors that he could become federal interior minister if Nancy Faeser ran as the top candidate for the SPD in the state elections in Hesse.

Pistorius completed an apprenticeship as a wholesale and foreign trade merchant. He did his military service from 1980 to 1981, after which he studied law in Osnabrück and Münster. Pistorius has been Minister of the Interior in Lower Saxony since 2013, and his third term began a few months ago. Before that he was mayor of Osnabrück from 2006 to 2013. Pistorius is widowed and has two daughters.