The administrator and policewoman Doreen Denstädt, 45, was the first black politician in East Germany to take over the office of Thuringian Minister for Migration, Justice and Consumer Protection. Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left) presented her and the new State Minister for the Environment, Energy and Nature Conservation, Bernhard Stengele, with the certificates of appointment on Wednesday. Both Green politicians should take part in the meeting of the Thuringian state parliament in the afternoon, as announced by the Thuringian State Chancellery in Erfurt.

Denstädt succeeded the previous Justice Minister Dirk Adams, who was dismissed by Ramelow at the beginning of January at the request of his own party. He himself initially resisted the personnel shift. At the head of the Ministry of the Environment, Stengele succeeded his party colleague Anja Siegesmund, who had already announced her resignation for personal reasons after eight years at the end of December. The personal details had triggered some sharp criticism.

The opposition factions in parliament accused Denstädt of not being a fully qualified lawyer and therefore not sufficiently qualified.

She knows how an authority works, through her time as a patrol officer, she knows many of the problems people face, countered Denstädt.

Later, criticism of her also drifted into racist and insulting hate speech on the Internet. The police are investigating. “It’s just what migrant women experience every day. And I thought it was good that this is now being seen more clearly,” said Denstädt himself.

This situation is not new to her. “I’ve had 45 years to get used to it. It was clear that such hate speech came from the right-wing spectrum, and that certain networks act together was also foreseeable,” she said.

Denstädt now wants to use the first few weeks in office to get an overview and to talk to some municipalities about migration policy, it said. Prime Minister Ramelow expects her to make the establishment of a state office for migration, which has long been agreed in the cabinet, a priority. Ramelow said: “She enjoys no puppy protection.”

Denstädt’s predecessor Dirk Adams (Greens) left office against his will in mid-January. Since then, the 45-year-old career changer in state politics has been accompanied by doubts as to whether she has the necessary professional qualifications for the difficult office.

Born in Saalfeld in 1977, the former professional rugby player previously worked in the Thuringian police’s trust center. Denstädt is the chief police officer and has a degree in administration. Born in the GDR to a mother in Thuringia and a father from Tanzania, she has been campaigning against racism and discrimination for a long time.

Bernhard Stengele, on the other hand, comes from the Allgäu (Baden-Württemberg) and is an actor and director by profession. Between 2012 and 2017 he was drama director at the Theater Altenburg Gera, then returned to Baden-Württemberg. In 2019 he ran for the Thuringian Greens in the state elections as a direct candidate for the Altenburger Land II constituency, finishing 5.6 percent behind the competitors from the CDU, Linke, FDP and SPD and not entering the state parliament . At the beginning of 2020, Stengele became state spokesman for the Thuringian Greens together with Ann-Sophie Bohm.

His ministry also includes the energy sector, which has gained in importance as a result of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine last year.

Thuringia is governed by a red-red-green minority government made up of Leftists, SPD and Greens. Since the 2019 state election, the political situation in the federal state has been difficult due to complicated majorities and was at times characterized by great unrest. Since the red-red-green coalition does not have a parliamentary majority, it is dependent on votes from the opposition. The next state elections in Thuringia are expected to take place in 2024.