• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Party colleagues ‘stabbing Merkel in back’ over refugees
Angela Merkel with Guido Wolf and Julia Klöckner. Photo: DPA

Party colleagues ‘stabbing Merkel in back’ over refugees

The Local · 22 Feb 2016, 11:43

Published: 22 Feb 2016 10:58 GMT+01:00
Updated: 22 Feb 2016 11:43 GMT+01:00

Over the weekend Julia Klöckner and Guido Wolf demanded in an open letter that the government implement daily quotas for the number of asylum seekers allowed into the country and set up processing centres at the country’s borders.

Merkel has long resisted demands from more hawkish members of her government that she impose an upper limit on the amount of refugees Germany takes in.

Klöckner and Wolf, both of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), are vying to become minister-president - the German equivalent of governors - in state elections due to be held in mid-March in Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg.

Both candidates are fighting fiercely close contests and have the chance to win back control of the states for the conservative party.

In Rhineland-Palatinate, an INSA survey published on Monday puts Klöckner two point ahead of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) on 35 percent. In Baden-Württemberg Wolf lies half a point behind the ruling Green Party on 30 percent.

In the German proportional representation system parties try and form a coalition with junior partners which will give them a controlling majority in the parliament.

The open letter, demanding a stricter approach to dealing with refugees, has widely been interpreted as an attempt to win votesrs away from the Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Populist right-wing AfD have seen their poll share soar in recent months as large sections of the German public have grown sceptical of Merkel’s refugee stance.

In Rhineland-Palatinate the AfD are currently polling at 8.5 percent, while in Baden-Württemberg they are predicted to win 10 percent of the vote, according to INSA.

Those scores are comfortably above the five percent threshold needed to enter state parliaments - a first in the party's history in the two south-western states.

‘Back stabbing’

But Sigmar Gabriel, vice-Chancellor and SPD leader, accused Klöckner and Wolf of betraying their party leader at a time when she desperately needs their support.

“It’s neither smart nor decent to stab the German Chancellor in the back in the middle of European negotiations,” Gabriel told Spiegel Online, referring to last week’s EU summit in Brussels at which Merkel called for European solidarity in the refugee crisis.

Gabriel aimed his wrath particularly at Klöckner, who is also party deputy to Merkel at the national level - and seen by some as a potential future successor.

Story continues below…

“Frau Klöckner is undermining the German negotiating position and she’s weakening the position of the German Chancellor,” Gabriel stated.

“We need to defend Europe’s external borders and to cooperate with Turkey on controlling people smugglers - we don’t need to follow some self-interested course like Austria or the eastern European states,” the vice-Chancellor said.

The two election candidates also drew fire from within their own party, with one European politician accusing them of “descending into panic” in the run-up to the state elections.

Merkel herself has so far stayed silent on Klöckner and Wolf's letter.

SEE ALSO: Merkel isolated as allies slam door on refugees

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
Germany-denying beauty king fights cops with guns, teeth
Left: Adrian Ursache in his glam days as the 1998 Mr. Germany. Right: Police trying to evict him from his own 'country'. Photos: DPA.

Former Mr. Germany winner and founder of a group that denies the existence of Germany refused to be evicted, provoking a shootout - and bite-out - with police.

Politicians renew call to bring Snowden to Germany
Photo: GUARDIAN / GLENN GREENWALD / LAURA POITRAS.

Green and Die Linke (Left Party) politicians are asking that NSA surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden be allowed into Germany for an ongoing investigation.

Merkel urged to address Turkmenistan rights record
Angela Merkel with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. Photo: DPA

Human Rights Watch on Thursday urged Chancellor Angela Merkel to bring up major rights violations, including a "policy of disappearances", when Germany hosts the president of Turkmenistan next week.

Epic father-daughter comedy picked for Oscars success
A scene from film Toni Erdmann. Photo: DPA

German Films has chosen Toni Erdmann, a beefy comedy about a father's struggle to save his daughter from her isolating career, as its 2017 Oscars choice.

Germany mulls pullout from Turkish airbase: report
A German Tornado jet at the Incirlik base in Turkey. Photo: Bundeswehr/DPA.

Germany's military is preparing to pull out from a Turkish airbase as a row between the two NATO partners escalates, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Thursday.

German man arrested over Bali meth lab
Bali. Photo: DPA

A German man has been arrested on Indonesia's Bali island for allegedly making crystal methamphetamine in a secret lab, officials said Thursday, with authorities seizing bags of powders and bottles used to produce the drug.

Giant 2-metre catfish attacks woman in Bavarian lake
A wels catfish. Photo: DPA

When a young woman went for a swim in an idyllic south Bavarian region, she got more than she bargained for.

Mayor fires refugee project intern for wearing headscarf
File photo: DPA.

A Palestinian who was hired to work as an intern on a refugee project was fired by a town hall this week because she wouldn't take off her headscarf.

President who pioneered Moscow ties dies aged 97
Former Cold War President of West Germany Walter Scheel. Photo: DPA.

Former West German president Walter Scheel, who helped pave the way for his country's rapprochement with the communist East, has died aged 97, his party's spokesman said on Wednesday.

Former East to lag behind West for years to come: study
Poverty in eastern Germany. File photo: DPA

Eastern Germany remains economically anaemic with little prospect of catching up with the rest of the country by 2030, a study published on Wednesday said.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
8,576
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd