Fourth Cabinet of Angela Merkel
Cabinet Merkel IV
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23rd Cabinet of the Federal Republic of Germany
14 March 2018 – 26 October 2021
(until 8 December 2021 as caretaker government)
2018-03-12 Unterzeichnung des Koalitionsvertrages der 19. Wahlperiode des Bundestages by Sandro Halank–011.jpg
Signing of the coalition agreement for the 19th Bundestag on 12 March 2018
Date formed14 March 2018
Date dissolved8 December 2021
(3 years, 8 months, 3 weeks and 3 days)
People and organisations
PresidentFrank-Walter Steinmeier
ChancellorAngela Merkel
Vice-ChancellorOlaf Scholz
Member partiesChristian Democratic Union
Social Democratic Party
Christian Social Union in Bavaria
Status in legislatureGrand coalition
399 / 709 (56%)
Opposition partiesAlternative for Germany
Free Democratic Party
The Left
The Greens
Opposition leadersAlice Weidel (AfD) &
Alexander Gauland (AfD)
Election(s)2017 federal election
Legislature term(s)19th Bundestag
PredecessorMerkel III

The Fourth Merkel cabinet (German: Kabinett Merkel IV) was the 23rd Government of the Federal Republic of Germany during the 19th legislative session of the Bundestag. It was sworn in on 14 March 2018 following the 2017 federal election and dismissed on 26 October 2021, acting in a caretaker mode until 8 December 2021. It was preceded by the third Merkel cabinet and succeeded by the Scholz cabinet. Led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, it was the third cabinet under Merkel to be supported by a coalition of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU), and the Social Democratic Party (SPD).


The cabinet consists of Chancellor Angela Merkel and fifteen (fourteen since 20 May 2021) federal ministers. Olaf Scholz (SPD) replaced Sigmar Gabriel as Vice Chancellor and CSU Leader Horst Seehofer became Federal Minister of the Interior, Building and Community. Fourteen ministers head a department (since 20 May 2021, one minister heads two departments); one member of the cabinet, the Head of the Chancellery, is Federal Minister for Special Affairs without a portfolio. The CDU has seven positions, the SPD has six and the CSU has three, as follows:

Order[1] Office Portrait Minister Party Took office Left office

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Angela Merkel CDU 14 March 2018 8 December 2021
2 Vice Chancellor
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Olaf Scholz SPD 14 March 2018 8 December 2021
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Federal Minister of Finance
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Federal Minister of the Interior, Building and Community
Horst Seehofer CSU 14 March 2018 8 December 2021
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Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs
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Heiko Maas SPD 14 March 2018 8 December 2021
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Federal Minister of Economics and Energy
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Peter Altmaier CDU 14 March 2018 8 December 2021
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Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection
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Katarina Barley SPD 14 March 2018 27 June 2019
2017-03-19 Lambrecht Roth SPD Parteitag by Olaf Kosinsky-3.jpg
Christine Lambrecht SPD 27 June 2019 8 December 2021
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Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs
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Hubertus Heil SPD 14 March 2018 8 December 2021
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Federal Minister of Defence
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Ursula von der Leyen CDU 17 December 2013 17 July 2019
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Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer CDU 17 July 2019 8 December 2021
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Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture
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Julia Klöckner CDU 14 March 2018 8 December 2021
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Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth
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Franziska Giffey SPD 14 March 2018 20 May 2021
2017-03-19 Lambrecht Roth SPD Parteitag by Olaf Kosinsky-3.jpg
Christine Lambrecht SPD 20 May 2021 8 December 2021
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Federal Minister of Health
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Jens Spahn CDU 14 March 2018 8 December 2021
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Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure
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Andreas Scheuer CSU 14 March 2018 8 December 2021
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Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
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Svenja Schulze SPD 14 March 2018 8 December 2021
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Federal Minister of Education and Research
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Anja Karliczek CDU 14 March 2018 8 December 2021
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Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development
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Gerd Müller CSU 14 March 2018 8 December 2021

Federal Minister for Special Affairs &
Head of the Chancellery
Helge Braun CDU 14 March 2018 8 December 2021

2018 government crisis

Main article: 2018 German government crisis

In June 2018, a government crisis erupted within the cabinet between Interior Minister and CSU Chairman Horst Seehofer and Chancellor Angela Merkel, after Seehofer had elaborated a masterplan on asylum policies, containing the rejection of asylum seekers already registered in other EU countries.[2] Seehofer had threatened to resign over the crisis on 1 July, but an agreement was made between the CDU/CSU sister parties on 2 July.[3]

Caretaker government

The results of the 2017 election had necessitated a series of negotiations that required the Merkel III cabinet to remain in a caretaker capacity for a prolonged period of time (into 2018). Government formation after the 2021 elections lasted until 24 November 2021,[4] and the caretaker government continued until December 8,[5] making Merkel just 9 days short of the record for longest-serving Chancellor in post-war German history ahead of Helmut Kohl.[6]


  1. ^ German Chancellery (15 March 2018). "Liste der Bundesministerinnen und Bundesminister" [List of Federal Ministers]. Protokoll Inland der Bundesregierung (in German). German Federal Ministry of the Interior. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
  2. ^ German government crisis: What are Merkel's options?, Reuters, 2 July 2018
  3. ^ Chancellor Angela Merkel and Horst Seehofer agree on a migration compromise, Deutsche Welle, 2 July 2018
  4. ^ "German parties reach a deal to form a coalition government as the era of Merkel ends". NPR. 24 November 2021.
  5. ^ "Germany's Olaf Scholz takes over from Merkel as chancellor". BBC News. 8 December 2021.
  6. ^ "Angela Merkel's party beaten in Germany election, but she will remain Chancellor for now. Here's why". ABC News. 26 September 2021.