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‘Stupid oversight’: German Green chancellor candidate stumbles after failing to declare bonus

The Greens candidate seeking German Chancellor Angela Merkel's job has come under pressure after admitting she failed to declare some supplementary income, with new polls published Friday showing her popularity slipping.

'Stupid oversight': German Green chancellor candidate stumbles after failing to declare bonus
Annalena Baerbock on May 20th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Kay Nietfeld

Annalena Baerbock retrospectively declared €25,200 ($30,790) in earnings over the period of 2018 and 2020.

“It was a stupid oversight,” Baerbock, 40, said Thursday, adding that she had flagged it up immediately when she noticed the error.

But her opponents immediately leapt on the slip-up just four months before September 26th elections.

Markus Blume, general secretary of the CSU, accused the Greens of “hypocrisy and double standards” over the payments, part of which was paid by the ecologist party as bonuses for recent electoral successes.

“The fact that the capitalist-critic Greens are paying their leaders bonuses for successes is grotesque,” he said.

READ ALSO: How the leading candidates for Merkel’s crown differ on big foreign policy issues

The Süddeutsche newspaper said that the case did not amount to a corruption scandal like one that had snagged Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.

“But it weakens (Baerbock), because her campaign thrives from being more upstanding that her competitors,” it noted.

A survey published Friday by broadcaster ZDF showed Baerbock’s popularity sliding to 0.5 on a scale of minus five to five. Two weeks ago, she was at one point.

In comparison, Merkel who topped the chart, was at 2.1. In terms of ranking, Baerbock was now trailing Greens co-chairman Robert Habeck who lost out to her for the chancellor candidate nomination.

Overall as a party, the more relevant measure under the German electoral system, the Green party is still neck-and-neck with Merkel’s CDU-CSU conservatives.

READ ALSO: Majority of Germans ‘in favour of a new government’

Merkel’s centre-right CDU and its Bavarian CSU sister party have been roiled by damaging allegations about MPs profiting from face mask deals early on in the pandemic, forcing three lawmakers to step down.

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POLITICS

‘A good thing’ for footballers to express values, says France’s PM

France's Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne - speaking in Berlin - said that footballers should be allowed to express their values, amid controversy over FIFA's stance against the 'OneLove' armband on the pitch.

'A good thing' for footballers to express values, says France's PM

“There are rules for what happens on the field but I think it’s a good thing for players to be able to express themselves on the values that we obviously completely share, while respecting the rules of the tournament,” said Borne at a press conference in Berlin on Friday.

Germany’s players made headlines before Wednesday’s shock loss to Japan when the team lined up for their pre-match photo with their hands covering their mouths after FIFA’s threat to sanction players wearing the rainbow-themed armband.

Seven European nations, including Germany, had previously planned for their captains to wear the armband, but backed down over FIFA’s warning.

Following Germany’s action, Wales and the Netherlands have since come out to say they would not mirror the protest.

Borne’s visit to Germany was her first since she was named to her post in May.

Following talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the two leaders signed an agreement for “mutual support” on “guaranteeing their energy supplies”.

Concrete measures outlined in the deal include France sending Germany gas supplies as Berlin seeks to make up for gaping holes in deliveries from Russia.

Germany meanwhile would help France “secure its electricity supplies over winter”, according to the document.

France had since 1981 been a net exporter of electricity to its neighbours because of its nuclear plants. But maintenance issues dogging the plants have left France at risk of power cuts in case of an extremely cold winter.

The two leaders also affirmed their countries’ commitment to backing Ukraine “to the end of” its conflict with invaders Russia.

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