SPD politicians Thomas Krueger, president of the Federal Agency for Civic Education, who has served on several film funding committees, and Monika Griefahn, who chairs the Bundestag's cultural committee have been tipped as a possible successor to Julian Nida-Ruemelin as Germany's Federal Commissioner for Affairs of Culture and the Media (BKM).

This latest chapter of musical chairs comes after Nida-Ruemelin, (pictured) who had headed the BKM since January 2001, informed Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder this week that he would not be available to head the culture ministry in the newly elected SPD/Green administration.

Nida-Ruemelin's decision to return to the world of academia came after the University of Goettingen indicated that it would not be in a position to hold his professorship in the faculty of philosophy vacant for another term of office.

Speaking to the German news agency dpa, Nida-Ruemelin revealed that he had put forward the names of three people to become his successor. "Whoever becomes my successor, there isn't going to be an about-turn," he said.

Commenting on the departure of Nida-Ruemelin, Georgia Tornow, secretary-general of the Film 20 lobby group, declared that stagnation should not be allowed to set in: "A rock-bottom situation mustn't be allowed to arise, it is necessary in the media and film policy for the baton to be passed on".

"It is now important that one continues working swiftly on the revision of the German Film Law, the modernisation of the media order in Germany, on the urgent reworking for the film industry of the Media Ruling and not least of all, on the initiative of the German Film Award winners for the founding of a German Film Academy," Tornow explained.