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Why is there a deepening row in Germany's Green Party?

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Why is there a deepening row in Germany's Green Party?
Economics Minister Robert Habeck in the debating chamber of the German Bundestag. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd von Jutrczenka

A major scandal has seen the German Party firmly in the firing line in recent weeks. Here's what's going on.

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From an early wave of popularity as part of Germany's three-party traffic light coalition, the Greens have suffered a string of blows over the past few months.

In the latest part of an ongoing scandal, one high-profile economy ministry official is to leave his post over accusations of nepotism.

The announcement was made on Wednesday by Economy Minister Robert Habeck, deepening the growing woes of the Green party as the struggle to regain credibility.

State secretary Patrick Graichen had become "too vulnerable to carry out his duties", Habeck, who is also vice-chancellor under Olaf Scholz (SPD), told a press conference.

Graichen, 51, had been under pressure for several weeks for appointing a Berlin-based environmentalist, Michael Schaefer, as head of the German Energy Agency, neglecting to mention that Schaefer had been the best man at his wedding.

He is also accused of approving a grant worth several hundred thousand euros to an organisation where his sister was a board member -- "one mistake too many", according to Habeck.

Habeck and Graichen had both admitted that it was a mistake for Graichen not to mention his friendship with Schaefer.

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But Habeck initially said his state secretary would not resign, despite criticism from the opposition and several media outlets, including the top-selling Bild daily.

"I have decided that Graichen should not leave," Habeck told the Bundestag's economics and energy committee a week ago.

The conservative opposition CDU-CSU had threatened to call for a parliamentary enquiry into the suspicions of nepotism.

The affair comes at a difficult time for the Greens as they face allegations of hypocrisy from climate activists who accuse them of failing to honour their coalition promises.

READ ALSO: Climate activists stop Berlin traffic to put pressure on government

One survey on Tuesday had the party on just 15 percent, in fourth place behind the far-right AfD.

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