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Sauerland won't jump, but will be pushed

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Sauerland won't jump, but will be pushed
Photo: DPA
13:36 CEST+02:00
Duisburg's embattled Mayor Adolf Sauerland is planning to have himself voted out by the city council – rather than resigning – over the Love Parade tragedy that left 21 people dead.

Sauerland, who has come in for mounting criticism over his handling of the tragedy, could risk losing part of his pension if he were to resign. He said in statement on Monday would instead put his position to a vote of the city council.

"Naturally I will - as previously announced - face the deselection process according to the municipal rules of the state of NRW," he said referring to North Rhine-Westphalia.

There has been speculation for some days that his motive for resisting calls for his resignation is partly financial. The 55-year-old former teacher stands to gain a considerable benefits package from his 28 years as a public servant, the WAZ news group reported on Monday.

Sauerland is facing intense pressure to step down, with politicians from his own conservative Christian Democrats party – and even President Christian Wulff – questioning his claim that he bore no personal responsibility for the tragedy of July 24 because he had not himself signed off on the plans.

On Monday, the centre-left Social Democrats on the city council joined calls by the smaller parties for Sauerland to resign. The pro-business Free Democrats, environmentalist Greens and socialist Left party have already made such calls.

With the SPD included, the city council would have the majority to vote out Sauerland, WAZ reported.

In what has widely been regarded as hopelessly inadequate security plans, Love Parade organisers channelled hundreds of thousands of party-goers through a tunnel into the main dance area, eventually causing a blockage that turned into a human crush, in which 21 people were killed and more than 500 injured.

Sauerland said he was prepared to accept the political consequences only after the degree of the city council's culpability was established.

"For me it's clear: I will face my entire responsibility both personally and politically. Both are tied together," he said in his statement, adding he would push for a state parliamentary inquiry into the incident.

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