• Germany's news in English

Westerwelle visits Japan while FDP crisis continues at home

The Local · 2 Apr 2011, 14:14

Published: 02 Apr 2011 14:14 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Yet the political meltdown of his Free Democratic Party (FDP) continues in Germany, with calls for Westerwelle’s departure and the accompanying power struggle becoming clearer and louder by the day.

The embattled party leader will return on Sunday. One member of the FDP executive committee told Focus magazine he expected Westerwelle to announce to a party leadership meeting on Monday that he would not stand for re-election as leader.

Westerwelle would try to retain his position as foreign minister and vice chancellor, the source said.

But another source from Westerwelle’s circle dismissed this. “There is neither a decision nor a pre-decision on an alleged resignation,” he said on Friday afternoon.

Yet media speculation on Westerwelle’s future and those supposedly lining up to replace him and reinvigorate the struggling party continued apace over the weekend.

FDP vice chairman Cornelia Pieper herself resigned, increasing the pressure on Westerwelle to do the same. “I am making the way free for a new start with new heads – which can be followed by others,” she said, while calling for the party to renew itself.

Westerwelle’s predecessor Wolfgang Gerhardt called for Westerwelle to resign, saying he could not save himself from being voted out at the party conference in May.

“Delegates are definitely travelling to the party conference in order to elect a renewed personnel,” he said.

Although party General Secretary Christian Lindner and Health Minister Philipp Rösler are being suggested as successors to Westerwelle, there is resistance to this idea too.

“The club of 30-year-olds cannot take over the party. They must prove themselves in their positions,” said Uwe Barth, member of the party’s federal leadership as well as head of the FDP in Thuringia.

Lindner told Focus the FDP was now starting a process of renewal which was "regrettably necessary." The party was about to change its personnel and was considering some themes anew, he said.

Story continues below…

The FDP was trounced in state elections last weekend. It was pushed out of the Rhineland-Palatinate state legislature and lost government in Baden-Württemberg, intensifying the pressure on Westerwelle.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

19:17 April 2, 2011 by auniquecorn
Westerwelle: Don worry mein frien. Ve are der for you.

Matsumoto: Ha Ha Ha, Dis April Fool Yoke, Ya?
22:54 April 2, 2011 by derExDeutsche
Ok, where is the News on how Germany plans to help Japan in the midst of a nuke crisis? Where is the Germany/Japan news?

We get it, FDP is dead to you. 'Political Meltdown' though? really? In an Article relating to Japan on April 2, 2011? Tasteless.

Beyond the Photo and the Headline, the body of the article reminds me why I don't go on Internet Dates. The description and photo just don't match the goods;)

Japan is one of Germany's greatest allies. If Germany is truly concerned about its International Leadership role, they have an opportunity to display their merit in Japan.
23:47 April 2, 2011 by Zlik
Perhaps it 's all on the surface to the camera and People. Politicians that is.
00:52 April 3, 2011 by vonSchwerin
Maybe Westerwelle will do everyone a favor and stay in Japan. Permanently. I'm sure that it's a lovely place to to retire to.

In all seriousness . . . it helps the FDP if he resigns as head of the party, but it doesn't help Germany if he stays on as foreign minister.
Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

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
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