After Germany elected the first female Chancellor in 2005, when Angela Merkel (Christian Democrats) took office, another minority has now taken position #2 in the German government: The libertarian FDP's chairman Guido Westerwelle has been elected Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister yesterday. He is the first openly gay man to become minister in the German government: Quote: The 47-year old from Bonn will become Germany's first openly homosexual vice-chancellor and could win more than the normal three cabinet positions traditionally reserved for the junior partner in a coalition government. The FDP leader is best known at home for his espousal of Thatcherite economic reforms. But it is his position on Afghanistan that will make him the welcome face of Germany's foreign policy among the country's allies. While Germany's deployment to Afghanistan has become increasingly unpopular, Mr Westerwelle has emerged as the most powerful and articulate proponent of sustained involvement in the war. The Free Democrats' support for nuclear energy means that the country is likely to reverse an isolationist decision to mothball the industry within the decade. A permanent tan and close fitting suits tailored to a well-preserved physique belie the scars accumulated in eight years as leader of Germany's third political force. As he celebrated victory on Sunday night, he reminded supporters of challenges of holding government office. He said: "We are pleased with this exceptional result but we know that above all else, this means responsibility." The 47-year old from Bonn does not disguise that his flamboyance has frequently endangered the credibility of the FDP, an economically liberal force that represents the interests of the urban middle class. Mr Westerwelle had his official coming-out when he attended Angela Merkel's 50th birthday party in 2004 with his partner, businessman Michael Mronz, and has said he would like to have a family. More controversially in Germany, he has appeared on Big Brother and painted the party's election goal of 18 per cent on the soles of his shoes in a widely ridiculed campaign stunt that cemented his foppish reputation. But with the 11 years in the political wilderness finally at an end, Mr Westerwelle has a strong imperative not to succumb to the business as usual instincts of the German political class. "Of course I made some mistakes when I was young but one grows older and wiser," he admitted earlier this year. "But the Germans seem to see us positively - otherwise they wouldn't have given us one of the best results in our history at the last national election." link Guido Westerwelle (FDP) becomes the first openly gay German Vice Chancellor and minister in the government Westerwelle with his partner Michael Mronz America elects the first African American to the office of President, and Germany elects the first female Chancellor, and the first openly gay Vice Chancellor and minister -- it seems there is some progress in political culture already in the 21st century.