A spat over Germany’s domestic intelligence chief flared up again Friday, after a center-left party in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government said it wanted to nix a deal that saw the spy promoted out of office.
Social Democrats leader Andrea Nahles said she wrote to other members of the coalition government to revisit Tuesday’s agreement, which she said met with “widespread bewilderment” among Germans.
“We didn’t create confidence, we lost confidence,” she said of the deal that followed days of back-and-forth between those who supported the head of the BfV intelligence agency, Hans-Georg Maassen, and those who wanted him fired for appearing to downplay recent anti-migrant violence.
Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert told German news agency dpa that the chancellor was willing to discuss the issue again and “together find a viable solution.”
Maassen, who has also been criticized for his contacts with a far-right party, was backed by Horst Seehofer, the country’s conservative interior minister. Seehofer agreed to remove Maassen from the spy agency but then made him deputy minister — with a hefty pay rise.
An opinion poll published Friday by public broadcaster ARD showed Merkel’s Union bloc receiving 28 percent of the vote and the Social Democrats getting 17 percent, compared with almost 33 and 20.5 percent respectively at last year’s election.
The far-right Alternative for Germany party, meanwhile, has risen from nearly 13 percent last year to 18 percent in the same poll, which had a margin of error of up to 3.1 percentage points.
Source: The Associated Press