German minister resigns in blow to new Merkel government

BERLIN Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:52pm GMT

Germany's Agriculture Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich announces his resignation in Berlin February 14, 2014. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

Germany’s Agriculture Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich announces his resignation in Berlin February 14, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Tobias Schwarz

Related Topics

(Reuters) – A senior German minister resigned on Friday amid accusations he leaked confidential information about a fellow lawmaker suspected of possessing child pornography, dealing a blow to Chancellor Angela Merkel and her two-month old government.

The resignation of Agriculture Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, the latest in a series of cabinet departures under Merkel, could aggravate tensions in Berlin’s new “grand coalition” at a time when it is trying to push through complex reforms of pensions and renewable energy.

“The pressure on me has grown so much in the last couple of hours that I no longer think I can do the job in the agriculture ministry with the required concentration, calm and political support,” Friedrich told a hastily-called news conference.

Merkel said she had accepted Friedrich’s resignation “with great respect and great regret”, adding that it was too early to discuss who would succeed him.

The resignation follows questions about whether Friedrich, a member of Merkel’s Bavarian sister party, inappropriately passed on confidential information about a looming investigation into a prominent Social Democrat (SPD) lawmaker to the leader of the

SPD.

Read More Here

…..

UPDATE 4-German minister resigns in blow to new Merkel government

Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:46pm EST

* Merkel cabinet minister gave SPD advance warning of probe

* SPD lawmaker Edathy has denied child porn allegations

* Departure could aggravate tensions in coalition (Adds comments from Gabriel)

By Erik Kirschbaum

BERLIN, Feb 14 (Reuters) – A senior German minister resigned on Friday amid accusations he leaked confidential information about a fellow lawmaker suspected of possessing child pornography, dealing a blow to Chancellor Angela Merkel and her two-month old government.

The resignation of Agriculture Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, the latest in a series of cabinet departures under Merkel, could aggravate tensions in Berlin’s new “grand coalition” at a time when it is trying to push through complex reforms of pensions and renewable energy.

“The pressure on me has grown so much in the last couple of hours that I no longer think I can do the job in the agriculture ministry with the required concentration, calm and political support,” Friedrich told a hastily-called news conference.

Merkel said she had accepted Friedrich’s resignation “with great respect and great regret”, adding that it was too early to discuss who would succeed him.

The resignation follows questions about whether Friedrich, a member of Merkel’s Bavarian sister party, inappropriately passed on confidential information about a looming investigation into a prominent Social Democrat (SPD) lawmaker to the leader of the SPD.

Friedrich was interior minister in the previous centre-right government at the time.

It emerged this week that the SPD lawmaker, Sebastian Edathy, is being investigated by prosecutors, who suspect him of possessing child pornography, an accusation Edathy has vigorously denied.

The 44-year-old Edathy, well known in Germany for leading a 2012-13 inquiry into neo-Nazi killings, resigned from parliament last week, citing health reasons, and has threatened to sue the newspaper that first reported about the child porn suspicions earlier this week.

WHO TIPPED OFF EDATHY?

What started as a small domestic affair erupted into a major political scandal on Thursday when it emerged that Friedrich had informed SPD chairman Sigmar Gabriel in October that Edathy could become the target of an investigation.

Read More Here

…..

 

Child-porn scandal unleashes tensions in Merkel coalition

Child-porn scandal unleashes tensions in Merkel coalition

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing mounting tensions in her two-month-old coalition, with members of the government trading accusations Sunday over their role in a scandal sparked by child-porn allegations involving a parliamentarian.

Agriculture Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich resigned Friday following revelations that as interior minister in Merkel’s last government, he leaked confidential police information about a child-porn probe concerning a Social Democratic (SPD) member of parliament.

Friedrich’s party, the conservative Bavarian-based Christian Social Union (CSU), stepped up pressure on the SPD Sunday, claiming the SPD’s public revelation of Friedrich’s actions represented a breach of the trust needed between coalition partners.

The CSU is the associate party of Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU).

Friedrich confidentially told SPD chairman Sigmar Gabriel about the child-porn inquiry last October, just as Merkel was negotiating to form a coalition with the SPD.

The SPD leadership is now under pressure to prove in public that it maintained secrecy around the tip-off that the lawmaker, Sebastian Edathy, was under suspicion of purchasing child pornography.

In a newspaper interview, SPD parliamentary faction leader Thomas Oppermann defended his decision to contact the head of Germany’s BKA federal police to check out the information provided by Friedrich.

Oppermann told the weekly Bild am Sonntag that it was part of his job to look after a parliamentarian facing “difficulties.” He said his purpose in phoning BKA chief Joerg Ziercke at the time was to assess the significance of the claims against Edathy.

Read More Here

…..

Enhanced by Zemanta
About these ads