February 6, 2023

German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht resigns – DW – 01/16/2023

German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht of the centre-left Social Democrats officially announced her resignation on Monday.

The move comes after German media reported on Friday that the defense minister planned to step down after a highly critical New Year’s Eve message she posted on social media.

In her letter, Lambrecht mentioned the war in Ukraine with the sounds of fireworks in the background.

Members of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) called the letter deafening and urged her to resign.

Schulz says replacement plans will take shape quickly

Christine Lambrecht’s resignation as German defense minister has long been expected, with initial rumors circulating on Friday night. And by Monday morning it was confirmed: the embattled Lambrecht tendered her resignation to Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who retained his minister until the end, calling her “first-rate” last December.

“The media focus that has been going on for months on my person hardly allows for objective reports and discussions about the military, women, the Bundeswehr and security policy decisions for the benefit of German citizens,” Lambrecht said in a statement.

Schulz said Monday that he had a “clear idea” about plans to replace Lambrecht and would announce his intentions quickly, but said it was too early to discuss them on the day of her resignation. He praised Lamprecht for her work trying to usher in reforms in one of Germany’s most difficult ministries.

“I have worked with great involvement to move away from the paths that have been followed for decades so that we can manage the major restart necessary for the national defense as well as for Ukraine,” he said.

Tough year on defense

Lambrecht’s tenure, even before the war in Ukraine, began inauspiciously. Military experts were uncertain of her experience, and her year in office became a series of minor scandals and statements that many considered deafening. Lambrecht also had to endure a lot of criticism for the German government’s reluctance to send heavy weapons to Ukraine.

German Defense Minister is stepping down

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Her gaffes included taking her adult son on an official trip to a unit in northern Germany in a German Armed Forces helicopter, to catch up with him on vacation on Sylt.

Olaf Schultz hopes his new appointment will provide some stability to the ministry. Among the candidates being proposed in the German media are Social Democratic Party leader Lars Klingbeil, longtime Labor Minister Hubertus Hill, and Eva Högel, the special parliamentary commissioner for the German army. A successor would almost certainly hail from the Social Democrats led by Schulz, to maintain the balance in the cabinet agreed upon during coalition negotiations.

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