German CDU rocked by pandemic supply scandal

The center-right bloc of German Chancellor Angela Merkel was rocked by scandal after two of her MPs were forced to resign following revelations that they had personally taken advantage of government deals to procure anti-face masks. -coronavirus.

Resignations risk harming the party ahead of two major regional elections next Sunday in the western states of Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate.

Surveys are seen as a critical test for Armin Laschet, the new leader of Merkel’s party, the Christian Democratic Union, who was elected in january and always seeks to mark his authority over the party.

Nicolas lobel, a CDU MP, announced on Sunday that he was stepping back from politics after it emerged that a company he owned had earned a commission of € 250,000 by acting as an intermediary between a supplier of masks from Baden-Württemberg and two private state companies.

The MP, who is also managing director of a company in the city of Mannheim in southern Germany called Löbel Projektmanagement, said he was resigning from his membership in the CDU / CSU parliamentary group with immediate effect. He also said he would resign from the Bundestag at the end of August and no longer stand in the parliamentary elections in September.

“To be a member of the German Bundestag and to be able to represent my hometown, Mannheim, is a great honor and above all a moral obligation,” he wrote in a statement. “With my actions, I failed to meet these standards. For that, I want to apologize to everyone in this country. ”

But that did not go far enough for party leader Laschet, who said Löbel should leave parliament immediately.

“All of us – politicians at the federal, regional and municipal levels – are doing all we can right now to get this country through the crisis and protect people,” he said in a statement.

“And whoever does business with this protection, and who enriches himself personally, is not a representative of the people. And he must leave parliament immediately.

A similar call came from Markus Söder, the powerful Prime Minister of Bavaria and leader of the CDU’s sister party, the CSU. “Everyone involved should clean up the slate and draw the fundamental consequences,” he tweeted. “Anything else damages people’s confidence in politics.

Löbel’s resignation came just two days after CSU MP Georg Nüßlein was forced to resign from his post as deputy leader of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group in a similar scandal. Nüßlein, who is currently under investigation for corruption, also said he was withdrawing from politics.

Nüßlein earned a large commission after his consulting firm helped negotiate a large delivery of face masks from a Chinese supplier during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Police investigators raided premises in Germany and Liechtenstein last week, including Nüßlein’s office in the Bundestag and his constituency office in the southern state of Bavaria, in connection with the case. Nüßlein himself has denied the corruption allegation.

Opposition politicians have reacted with fury to the mask scandals. “It makes no sense to people when MPs from government parties use their contacts to gain financial benefit from an emergency,” said Volker Wissing, general secretary of the Free Liberal Democrats.

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