Most see MPs in grip of lobbyists

Most Germans believe lobbyists have too much influence on members of parliament and do not trust politicians to do their jobs, according to a new study.

Most see MPs in grip of lobbyists
Merkel, SPD politician Rudolf Scharping and Friede Springer (r). Photo: DPA

Lobbyists working to influence lawmakers in favour of their employers are too successful in swaying German laws, said 75 percent of those questioned by Forsa pollsters in the study published in the Stern weekly magazine on Wednesday.

Just 16 percent disagreed with this idea, the study showed.

MPs are not well regarded in any case, with two thirds of Germans saying they did not believe that members of parliament were capable of doing “proper and engaged” work. Just 24 percent trusted them to do a good job. A further 81 percent said they thought politicians were “overwhelmed.”

In addition, 77 percent of citizens believe politicians should follow their own consciences rather than the party line – compared with just 20 percent who think keeping with the party should be a politician’s first priority.

Generally, the study suggested that Germans were extremely politically engaged, with 40 percent claiming to tune into televised Bundestag debates now and then.

“We know that the Germans have become convinced democrats. But that the politicians come off so badly is shocking,” head of Forsa Manfred Güllner told the magazine.

The Local/jlb

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Ex-chancellor Schröder sues German Bundestag for removing perks

Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has sued the German parliament for removing some of his official post-retirement perks over his links to Russian energy giants, his lawyer said Friday.

Ex-chancellor Schröder sues German Bundestag for removing perks

Schröder, 78, has come under heavy criticism for his proximity to Russian President Vladimir Putin and involvement with state-backed energy companies.

The decision to suspend Schröder’s taxpayer-funded office and staff in May was “contrary to the rule of law”, Michael Nagel, told public broadcaster NDR.

Schröder “heard of everything through the media”, Nagel said, noting that the Social Democrat had asked for a hearing before the budget committee responsible but was not given the chance to express himself.

READ ALSO: Germany strips Schröder of official perks over Russia ties

Schröder’s lawyers filed the complaint with an administrative Berlin court, a spokesman for the court confirmed.

In its decision to strip him of the perks, the committee concluded that Schröder, who served as chancellor from 1998 to 2005, “no longer upholds the continuing obligations of his office”.

Most of Schröder’s office staff had already quit before the final ruling was made.

Despite resigning from the board of Russian oil company Rosneft and turning down a post on the supervisory board of gas giant Gazprom in May, Schröder has maintained close ties with the Kremlin.

The former chancellor met Putin in July, after which he said Moscow was ready for a “negotiated solution” to the war in Ukraine — comments branded as “disgusting” by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Last week, the Social Democrats concluded that Schröder would be allowed to remain a member after he was found not have breached party rules over his ties to the Russian President.

Schröder’s stance on the war and solo diplomacy has made him an embarrassment to the SPD, which is also the party of current Chancellor Olaf Scholz.