Surprise top contender as Germany's new State Minister for Culture - former regional Culture Senator Christina Weiss (pictured), is to meet Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder today, Monday October 7.

German press reports at the weekend revealed that Weiss - who is not a member of any political party - had already been in discussions with Schroeder and would base her final decision about whether to become State Minister on the results of Monday's talks.

Weiss served as Hamburg's Culture Senator from 1991 until the change of administration after the city's elections in autumn 2001, and has always been regarded as being sympathetic to the needs of the local film industry.