MP resigns after getting away with whopper lie for a decade
Petra Hinz of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) has been a member of the German Bundestag since 2005. It was revealed on Tuesday that she never studied law or even finished school, and had fabricated significant parts of her CV.
Hinz’s lawyer released a statement via the MP’s website on Tuesday after rumours led to questions about the legitimacy of her legal background.
The statement reads that the politician from Essen had lied about her education, never having taken the state law examinations.
It also confirmed that she had never completed her Abitur, the exams Germans take when finishing school.
On Wednesday the pressure became too much and Hinz resigned after her local SPD branch in Essen demanded that she vacate her parliamentary seat immediately.
Der Westen reportedly found records from her alleged school and was unable to find Hinz’s name among the 1984 Abitur graduates.
Hinz had managed to be a member of the Bundestag for 11 years before her qualifications came into question.
SPD representatives in the Bundestag are calling for prompt consequences for the 54-year-old.
“In hindsight Frau Hinz is unable to determine the reasons why she used this false information as a basis for further improper claims about her juristic education and experience,” the statement on her website reads.
She failed to complete her school exams twice
According to the version of her CV that was on the Bundestag website before the scandal, Hinz completed her Abitur in 1984.
She claimed to then have studied law and political science and taken the state law examinations.
Her profile has since been edited to remove all of the false claims.
Hinz managed to blag her way into working at the Council of the City of Essen in 1989 without having finished school.
The statement on her website states that she did actually try and rectify this in the mid-nineties by studying for the exams in secret while she worked “to fix at least one part of the fabrications in her biography.”
But she gave up again after a year “because of her commitments at the time as a member of the Council of the City of Essen and her political involvements.”
Small newspaper takes down a Bundestag member
The rumours about Hinz’s background came about after Informer Magazine published an opinion piece on Monday questioning whether she was trustworthy.
The writer questioned the politician’s credentials and past experience that she claimed to have on her Bundestag profile.
The profile read that Hinz had received her “advanced technical certificate” in 1983 and her Abitur in 1984, and had taken her state law exams, but did not say where.
When Informer asked Hinz about this, she reportedly refused to respond.
“A person with nothing to hide can answer these questions easily. In a sentence,” Informer wrote.
Hinz first came into the spotlight when the Essen SPD office received an anonymous open letter addressed to her, Der Westen reports.
The writers of the letter claimed to be former colleagues of hers, and they described her way of working as involving “degrading behaviour”.
They claimed that she was also prone to “mistreatment and psychological terror”, and that some of them had suffered a “traumatising experience” working with her.
Hinz denounced this as false on her website, writing that the letter was clearly an attempt at “libellous defamation of my character as a Bundestag representative.”
"Sincerity and integrity"
The statement on Hinz’s site concluded with a heartfelt apology from Hinz’s lawyer.
“Frau Hinz’s political involvement is based on sincerity and integrity.
“She is very upset that she never mustered up the courage to take responsibility for her wrongdoing.
“She is asking forgiveness from colleagues, friends, family and everyone who trusted her as well as the whole public.”
By Ali Butt