German govt agrees solution to spymaster deal that threatened coalition - global

Blanche Robertson
September 26, 2018

After a meeting between the party leaders on Sunday to hammer out a new compromise, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said they had agreed Maassen would work in the Interior Ministry in future but would not receive a pay rise. Seehofer is due to give a statement later on Sunday. He will remain at his current pay level.

"I think the chances of an agreement are good", Seehofer told news agency dpa late Sunday afternoon, with the coalition leaders expected to meet in the evening. Some members of the Social Democrats (SPD) - the junior partner in Merkel's coalition - had called for their party to quit the alliance if the decision was not revoked.

The dispute has clouded the government's future at a time when the three parties face major challenges in upcoming state elections, in Seehofer's home state of Bavaria on October 14 and in neighboring Hesse on October 28.

An Emnid poll had on Saturday shown combined support for Merkel's CDU and Seehofer's Christian Social Union (CSU) slumping to a record low of 28 percent, while the far-right Alternative for Germany - which has backed Maassen - was at 16 percent, just behind the SPD on 17 percent.

It has already been through one crisis that threatened its survival, when Merkel and Seehofer - a conservative ally, but a longtime critic of her initially welcoming approach to refugees in 2015 - faced off in June over whether to turn back some migrants at the German-Austrian border.

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He said Tehran must "change its tune" before Washington considers rolling back the sanctions . Additional restrictions will go into effect on November 5.

Mr Maassen was removed from the BfV last week after saying he did not believe that foreigners had been attacked by far-right protesters in Chemnitz, despite video evidence.

Mr Seehofer said Mr Maassen is a "highly competent" employee who has not violated any rules and that he will not dismiss him outright. He accused the Social Democrats of running a "campaign" against Maassen.

Oettinger said that, since its national election last September, Germany had done little to help solve European problems, meaning a year in Europe had gone wasted. There is widespread speculation that a poor election performance in Bavaria next month could threaten his political future.

An opinion poll published on Friday by public broadcaster ARD showed Merkel's Union bloc receiving 28 per cent of the vote and the Social Democrats getting 17 per cent, compared with nearly 33 and 20.5 per cent respectively at last year's election.

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