Achanging of the guard is under way in Germany. Angela Merkel may still be clinging on to power, but months of intrigue as she tries to form a new coalition government have seen the other figures who dominated the country in recent years fall by the wayside, clearing the way for a new generation to take over.

Mrs Merkel has sacrificed her long-serving finance minister, Wolfgang Schauble, and her loyal interior minister, Thomas de Maiziere, in order to get a coalition agreement. Facing growing discontent from her Christian Democrat party (CDU) over the terms of the deal, she has pledged to bring younger faces into her team and reportedly torn up her initial plans for a reshuffle.