German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht intends to resign, several German media reported on Friday.
What do we know so far?
The revelation was first reported by a German newspaper Picturewith the South German newspaper next newspaper shortly after. Both cited unnamed sources and said she could step down as soon as next week.
Officially, however, German government spokespersons did not respond until Friday evening, saying the information constituted “rumors”, on which “we do not comment”.
The news follows a much-criticized New Year’s message she posted on social media. During the post, Lambrecht mentioned the war in Ukraine with fireworks in the background.
Members of the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) called the message tone deaf and urged her to resign.
Lambrecht belongs to Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD). Scholz said he still had faith in Lambrecht after the much criticized video.
Lambrecht is no stranger to scandal
Lambrecht also came under fire in May after it was reported she let her 21-year-old son fly on a Bundeswehr helicopter to the popular northern German holiday island of Sylt.
As defense minister, she has also been at the forefront of many of the ongoing controversies and criticisms of 2022 regarding the military equipment Germany sends to Ukraine and the difficulties the Bundeswehr faces at home.
If Friday’s reports ultimately prove accurate, Lambrecht would be the longest-serving member of Scholz’s cabinet to step down.
The two names put forward as possible successors are both Social Democrats, like Lambrecht – and a replacement will have to be to maintain the balance of the coalition between the three ruling parties, which includes the business-oriented Liberal Democratic Party and the Green environmentalists.
Both work in Lambrecht-related roles. One is special parliamentary commissioner for the German army, Eva Högl, and the other is Siemtje Möller, an assistant minister on Lambrecht’s team.
wd/msh (Reuters, dpa)
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