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Merkel fires minister after election disaster

The Local · 16 May 2012, 16:56

Published: 16 May 2012 16:17 GMT+02:00
Updated: 16 May 2012 16:56 GMT+02:00

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The 46-year-old, who had been seen by many as Merkel’s “crown prince” within her Christian Democratic Union (CDU), led a lack-lustre campaign in the western state, taking the party to its worst ever result there at just over 26 percent.

“I spoke with the federal president this morning and asked him... to release Norbert Röttgen from his work as minister to enable a personnel new start,” said Merkel on Wednesday afternoon.

She did not even mention North Rhine-Westphalia, or offer any other reason for his departure, but briefly praised his work as environment minister.

Although he resigned as head of the regional party on Sunday evening once the terrible results were in, Röttgen initially appeared determined to hang onto his ministerial job.

But Merkel got rid of him on Wednesday, replacing him with the chief whip of her parliamentary party, Peter Altmaier.

Röttgen’s colleagues have been gunning for him since Sunday’s election result, making scathing remarks about him behind the scenes – and even in one case in front of television cameras.

Story continues below…

Horst Seehofer, leader of the CDU’s sister party the Christian Social Union and Bavarian state premier created waves on Tuesday when he continued talking after a television interviewer’s questions were finished. He delivered a broadside to Röttgen, describing how his initial lead in the state polls had “melted away like ice cream in the sun” – and then told the presenter to air it all, which he did.

The Local/DAPD/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:08 May 16, 2012 by iseedaftpeople
well, I guess once again, the lesson is you don't mess with Mutti.

They say nobody who ever underestimated Angela Merkel is still here to talk about it... she has left a whole trail of deposed ministers and party functionaries since she became chairwoman of the CDU in '2000... Röttgen is only the latest example that if you don't play ball with Merkel, you end up getting axed. One is reluctant to admit it, but this woman is even tougher in her will to power than Margaret Thatcher.
17:31 May 16, 2012 by neunElf
Tougher than Baroness Thatcher?

Surely you jest...

I don't think Mrs. Thatcher would have capitulated to the Green fascists over the situation at Fukushima!

Frau Merkel lost my respect with that hysterical policy response, which will cost Germany dearly over the many years ahead!
18:02 May 16, 2012 by gorongoza
I used to wonder who this Chango Mutiny is. Now I know. You are a poet who revel on isssues surrounding Mrs Merkel. What about writting poems Kollege? I am certain your poems will sell like hot cakes.
18:11 May 16, 2012 by iseedaftpeople

I think the difference between Merkel and Thatcher really is, Angela Merkel has always been somewhat of an opportunist. She will pander to whoever suits her on her power trip, if it means a strengthening of her power and keeping herself out of harm's way. And she only caved in to the pressure of the masses after the Fukushima disaster when she realized that if she didn't, it would have endangered her own standing.

Margaret Thatcher, on the other hand, never strayed from her egotistical unbridled capitalist core beliefs. No manner of public protest managed to ever convince her to bow to the masses and fundamentally change her style of politics.

So in the end, we have two different characters here - Angela Merkel the opportunist who will sell her soul to anybody and anything if it ensures the maintaining of her political power, and Margaret Thatcher, who always put her foot down and who more than anything wanted to see her political beliefs put in action.

And that's why I think Merkel is the more power hungry one. Thatcher was willing to go down with her own ship, while Merkel will do anything to ensure her own political survival and authority.
18:12 May 16, 2012 by Englishted
@Chango Mutney

Well she could sail down the Rhine but the North part she would be lucky to find any supporters ,and next year it will end in tears .

More like a Greek tragedy than a Wagner opera.

I don't know how old you are but I lived and worked under the Thatcherite cloud and it was a depressing and divisive time watching all the factories close and the rich getting richer and poor getting poorer ,that is a trend that has spread to Europe and carries on sadly still today. What a legacy to have.
22:21 May 16, 2012 by siba
Thatcher destroyed the unions, the welfare state, the industry.... she was like a dictator and did not care about people.

Merkel did nothing of these things so far. She is quite a "balanced" conservative quite close to the social democrats. So politically she has nothing in common with Thatcher, unless being female.

And with regard to the shift regarding energy policies: What do you prefer? A person who does not care about the public opinion and governs against the overwhelming will of the population or a person who only follows its personal irrational fundamental ideals??? Merkel stands for the first, Thatcher for the latter.

I would never vote for the conservatives but I must say Merkel is the best what could have happend to the conservatives. With her they modernized their views, they got more liberal and social, and persue goals which once were totally opposed.

Because of being conservative, social democratic and green at the same time, there is still a large part of the population supporting Merkel.

And she fulfills her role quite well in her not at all narcissistic way... However, I hope there will come up soon a charismatic social democrat replacing her, maybe the red lady from NRW hannelore kraft or the gay mayor Wowi from Berlin?
13:51 May 17, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
@Englishted - I lived through the same thing (well part of it) in the USA. We just attributed it to foreign competition whereas I think England attributes it to Thatcher. Eitehr way. global forces were bigger than any policitcian or union. Heck, even France imports Toyotas now.

Either way, England and USA have longer life expectancies, greater per-capita GDP, etc. as far as indicators go. And we all have really really cheap internet.

@ Everyone - Suggesting that Thatcher was narcissitic and Merkel isn't... Nearly every policitican is a narcisist, especially at the national levels. How else would you survive / why else do the job?
18:00 May 17, 2012 by lucksi
Makes me wonder hoe long the CDU is going to belittle the pirate party. Because that's who their voters are leaving for...
22:17 May 17, 2012 by McM
Good decision at the right time. A bit of house cleaning is in order . The CDU needs a good shake up with all the special interest and looney fringe parties crawling out of their holes at the wiff of a few free lunches and and a chance to get their snouts in the trough again. Lucky for Germany they are in good economic condition in spite of all the recent EU bad policy and latent ranting. I would hate to be a German voter in the next decade though. Good luck when the latest generation of coalition rabbits hit the government benches.
23:22 May 17, 2012 by siba
"Either way, England and USA have longer life expectancies, greater per-capita GDP, etc. as far as indicators go."

longer lif expectancies than what? the life expectancy is better in scandinavian countries, canada, australia and also central Europe like Germany. England and the US are not so good if it comes to health services, social security, infrastructure... and this effects for instance the life expectancy in a negative way.

Narcissistism is nothing which necessarily makes you a better politician. Look at Putin, Sarkozy or Schröder compared to Merkel. I think she really is into politics but in a humble way.
17:03 May 18, 2012 by lozzshakes
All politicians will do what they have to do to retain power. I grew up in the Thatcher era and despite being a strong lady she destroyed the UK so that now we have no industries or public services of any great use, and unemployment was at its highest during her time in office. I applaud Ms Merkel, she has a difficult job juggling her own party, country and the Euro. To do this you cannot be a shrinking wall flower nor a dictator, and she is neither, but is more balanced leader.

Not all English people relate hard times to thatcherism and they do understand market forces and globalization, however this is about Germany not USA and UK and their GDP, life expectancies, heck even cheap internet.

Politicians will do what they have to do no matter what country they are in, the only difference is how they do it and how they get to where they need to be.
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