A St Andrews school teacher can say that she has the ear of one of the most powerful men in European politics!
Irene Kretschmann, a teacher of German at St Leonards, has recently seen her dad, Winfried Kretschmann, elected to the position of Ministerpräsident, or First Minister, of Baden-Württemberg, the third largest region in Germany with a population of almost 11m.
As the head of a coalition government, Mr Kretschmann became the first ever Green Party Ministerpräsident in German history and, in so doing, removed the Christian Democratic Union of Germany party from power in the affluent region for the first time in 58 years!
Irene said, “I still can’t really believe it, it still feels unbelievable.
“When I saw him in Parliament taking his oath as Head of Government, that was a very moving moment.
“And when I saw him on TV and the caption said ‘Ministerpräsident of Baden-Württemberg,’ my brothers and I giggled because it was so surreal.”
After the initial state elections, the alliance formed between the Greens and the Social Democrats had produced a majority of only one, meaning that Irene’s father faced an anxious wait to see if his appointment would be voted through by the Parliament in Stuttgart.
Irene, who travelled back to Germany to be present at the crucial vote, said: “It was really exciting but nerve racking too. The coalition had a very small majority but my dad got two additional votes from the opposition.
“He said he was nervous because you never know what can go wrong but I think he quietly believed he could make it.
“It was an amazing experience to be there.”