• Germany's news in English

Volker Bouffier to replace Roland Koch as Hessian state premier

DPA/The Local · 26 May 2010, 09:00

Published: 26 May 2010 09:00 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Koch announced the decision in favour of the 58-year-old politician in Bad Nauheim following a meeting of regional party leaders. The CDU now plans to hold an official party vote for Bouffier as state party leader at the state convention on June 12, where he will also be officially presented as a candidate for state premier.

The unanimous decision was a “great encouragement,” Bouffier told broadcaster Hessische Rundfunk, adding that he was taking on a “great legacy” and also planned to be “open for something new” when it came to state party politics.

“I look forward to this great challenge. I will tackle the job bravely,” he said.

But opposition politicians said they were doubtful Bouffier would offer the leadership the state required.

Bouffier belongs to a small circle of Koch backers, centre-left Social Democratic state party leader Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel told Hessischer Rundfunk on Wednesday morning.

“The structure of Hessian politics will unfortunately not change because of this,” he said, adding the new state premier would be merely a “bankruptcy liquidator” assigned to clean up problems which he himself had a hand in creating over the years.

Meanwhile environmentalist Green party state leader Tarek Al-Wazir also told the broadcaster Bouffier was not the fresh start that Hesse needed.

“As Germany’s oldest-serving interior minister since 1999 he has been a part of every decision,” he said, adding that the CDU made its decisions based on loyalty, and not quality.

“The unsolved problems will continue,” he said.

On Tuesday, Koch said he would step down this summer and leave politics, surprising many of Germany’s politicians. The 52-year-old Christian Democrat said he would stay in office until August 31.

"I specifically picked out this point in time," he said at a press conference in the state capital Wiesbaden. "Politics is a fascinating part of my life, but politics isn't my life."

Story continues below…

Koch said he planned to seek work in the business sector, but would only decide what position to pursue after leaving office. Besides resigning as state premier, Koch will also give up his leadership of the Hessian Christian Democrats and his deputy chairman position of the national CDU.

A conservative hard-liner, Koch has become a polarising figure in his state in recent years. Premier since 1999, voters punished his Christian Democrats during an election in 2008 after he started a controversial campaign with racist overtones against young immigrants. His image was first seriously tarnished for his involvement in a party slush fund scandal in 2000.

Lately Koch made headlines by demanding deep cuts in education and childcare funding in Hesse and the rest of Germany, eliciting the ire of the chancellor. He has long been considered an inner-party rival to Merkel, but she played down their contentious relationship on Tuesday.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Eurowings braces as cabin crew union proclaims strike
Photo: DPA

A union representing cabin crew for Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings announced that strikes could take place at any time over the next two weeks, starting on Monday.

Mysterious German U-boat wreckage found off Scotland
Photo: ScottishPower

First World War U-boat "attacked by sea monster” thought to be found off Scottish coast.

Supermarket Edeka warns of exploding apple juice bottles
Photo: DPA

"Risk of injury" from "Gut und Günstig" sparkling apple juice bottles has forced Germany's largest supermarket to recall the product.

By wheelchair from Syria to Germany: teen's story of hope
Nujeen Mustafa. Photo: HarperCollins-William Collins Publicity/Private

She tackled the gruelling 2,000-kilometre migrant trail in a wheelchair, translating along the way for other refugees using English she learned from a US soap opera. Now this teen is living in Germany and hoping to inspire others with a newly published memoir.

Berlin Zoo to have a pair of pandas by next summer
A recently born panda pair at Vienna Zoo. Photo: DPA

The giant bamboo-eating bears will move into a brand new 5,000 square-metre enclosure in the capital's Zoologischer Garten.

Two new spider species discovered in Munich
Zoropsis spinimana. Photo: rankingranqueen / Wikimedia Commons

It's news every arachnophobe in Munich is no doubt thrilled to hear: two types of spider new to the region have been discovered in the Bavarian capital - and one of them bites!

After woman's body found in barrel, husband may walk free
Franziska S., who went missing 24 years ago. Photo: Hanover police.

A woman disappeared in Hanover 24 years ago, but no one reported her missing. Although her husband has now confessed to her murder, he still may not step foot in jail.

Two injured after army tank falls 50 metres in Alps
A Bundeswehr Puma tank. File photo: DPA

A Bundeswehr (German army) soldier has been severely injured after the tank he was riding in crashed 50 metres down an embankment after going off course in bad weather.

Teen girl stands trial for 'Isis' police stabbing in Hanover
Police guard the courthouse in Celle. Photo: DPA

A teenage girl stands trial from Thursday in Germany for stabbing a police officer, an assault allegedly "ordered" by Isis but which was not claimed by the jihadist group.

Merkel threatens Putin with more sanctions on Berlin visit
Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel created a united front with French President Francois Hollande in Berlin on Thursday to denounce Russia’s “war crimes” in Syria.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd