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Thread: German Defense Minister Guttenberg resigns.

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    Administrator Tarek Morgen's Avatar
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    German Defense Minister Guttenberg resigns.

    After weeks of mounting pressure due the revelation that large parts of his doctoral dissertation where copied from other works the impending resignations of the Minister has just been announced.

    The whole affair happens at a very inconvenient time for Chancellor Merkel. For one the Bundeswehr is in midst of what might be its biggest reform (including the end of the draft), the mission in Afghanistan grows more and more controversial and the ongoing conflicts and revolutions in the Arab world which already required the Bundeswehr to evacuate Germans and other nationals from several countries. Further there are several important state elections in the coming months and the conservatives already lost the recent one in Hamburg with a disastrous result.

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    Administrator Tarek Morgen's Avatar
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    Defense Minister Guttenberg to Resign


    German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg will resign on Tuesday, according to media reports.

    German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is preparing to hand in his resignation, according to a report in the mass-circulation tabloid Bild. The move comes after weeks of mounting pressure surrounding accusations that he plagiarized significant portions of his doctoral dissertation.

    The pressure ultimately became even more than German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg could withstand. Almost two weeks after news broke that he had plagiarized large portions of his doctoral dissertation, the tabloid Bild is reporting that Guttenberg plans to submit his letter of resignation to Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday.


    The move comes despite repeated assurances from the chancellor that Guttenberg had her full support. But recent days have seen an increasing number of politicians from Merkel's governing coalition voicing their disdain for Guttenberg and frustration at the chancellor's handling of the affair. Furthermore, there was growing concern that the scandal could further erode support for Merkel's conservatives ahead of several important regional elections this year.



    Indeed, Monday's papers were full of quotes from senior conservative politicians questioning whether Guttenberg should remain in office. Parliamentary President Norbert Lammert of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party even went so far as to say that the affair was "a nail in the coffin of confidence in our democracy."

    Senior members of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to the CDU, of which Guttenberg is a member, likewise began withdrawing support for Guttenberg. Former party head Günther Beckstein told the newsweekly Stern that the affair "damages both the CSU and Guttenberg himself." Another CSU member, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Stern that Guttenberg was a "dandy, not a politician."

    Also on Monday, Martin Neumann, parliamentary spokesman for academic issues for the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP), Merkel's junior coalition partner, said Guttenberg should resign. "Should he continue to allow the circumstances of his dissertation to remain so unclear," Neumann told the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper, "I think that he, as minister and as the top official of two Bundeswehr universities, is no longer acceptable."

    By the end of last week, it had become clear that Guttenberg's dissertation contained dozens of passages that had been copied word-for-word from previously published works without adequate citation. He also included several pages from research notes he requested from parliamentary research assistants. It is not allowed for parliamentarians to use Bundestag research assistants for private business.
    Plagiarism Affair: Defense Minister Guttenberg to Resign - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

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    Thomas de Maiziere, current Minister of the Interior, will replace him.

    Thomas de Maiziere previously was Chief of Staff of the Chancellery (aka Minister for Special Affairs), and previously held a number of ministerial posts in the state of Saxony. His cousin Lothar de Maiziere was the last prime minister of East Germany; his father Ulrich de Maiziere was considered one of the founding fathers of the Bundeswehr's Innere Führung concept and served in Amt Blank and the Bundeswehr for 21 years (after 15 years in the Reichswehr and Wehrmacht), ending his service as Joint Chief of Staff.

    To keep numbers in the coalition equal, the CSU Bundestag group leader Hans-Peter Friedrich (a Franconian like Guttenberg) will succeed de Maiziere as Minister of the Interior.
    Last edited by kato; 02 Mar 11, at 16:45.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    To keep numbers in the coalition equal, the CSU Bundestag group leader Hans-Peter Friedrich (a Franconian like Guttenberg) will succeed de Maiziere as Minister of the Interior.
    Is he the right person for the job rather than being selected for the sake of equilibrium?

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    Being qualified for it isn't really decisive with German ministers

    He was responsible for certain interior politics resorts (municipal politics, tourism, infrastructure, urban development and transport) within the CSU Bundestag faction from 2005 to 2009, which i guess is better than nothing. Also makes him more qualified than some of the other names peddled.

    CSU chairman Edmund Stoiber tried to use the opportunity to lift some (non-Franconian) state ministers to the federal level, but both guys he supposedly asked declined the job.

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    The decision was more based on "how to do it quickly" (to avoid dragging the story out even more, and in an attemp to look decisve..someting Merkl is hardly known for) and to keep the peave within the coalition...as the CSU is generally very good in stirring up trouble within the coalition.

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    The big speculation - at least down here - is mostly how Guttenberg stepping down will affect the three state elections going down in late march. In particular the election in Baden-Württemberg is considered highly important for the CDU - to such an extent that commentators claim that if they lose this one, Merkel's government is going down. Guttenberg was supposed to hold eight campaign speeches in Baden-Württemberg this month, all of which are cancelled. The race in Baden-Württemberg is extremely tight, whereas the other two state elections would need huge turnarounds to surprise anyone.

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    The German Soldiers' Union (DBwV) is welcoming de Maiziere. Colonel Ulrich Kirsch, its chairman:

    "I am happy that a real political heavyweight is taking over this post. We wish Thomas de Maiziere a lucky hand and a lot of assertiveness in it. The DBwV will do it's utmost to support him in continuing the ongoing Bundeswehr reform and will be both a reliable and challenging partner to him."

    (own translation of the DBwV's press release)

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    The Bundeswehr have their own union?!
    Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

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    Administrator Tarek Morgen's Avatar
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    Well we have unions for prostitutes as well (or rather they can join ver.di which represents all kinds of workers in the service industry).

    The damage to Merkel is even twicefolded. For one those mad at Guttenberg are angry at her support for him in the last weeks, while those who still support him now see her as backstabbing him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigross86 View Post
    The Bundeswehr have their own union?!
    Two competing unions actually. Aside from DBwV, there's also its only competitor since 1964: the comparably small Fachgruppe Bundeswehr within ver.di, which mostly represents civilian employees of the Bundeswehr (but also a few thousand soldiers).

    Soldiers gained the right to form unions in 1966. DBwV was already operating for ten years at that point. Ver.di's predecessor ÖTV forming a second union was what kickstarted the process towards the government acknowledging the right to do so (they did ban union offices from bases at the same time though).

    In reality, DBwV doesn't have all the rights of a union - soldiers can't go on strike, and you can't really bargain for higher wages or anything like that. They do represent over 220,000 members though (active soldiers and reservists) and are rather influential, nonetheleast because they have members sitting in parliament.
    They have had their hands in most major related events in the Bundeswehr in the past thirty years, such as forcing the Bundeswehr into allowing women in combat roles, regularly raising the pay of conscripts, or (significantly) raising pay-outs for injured soldiers or the families of fallen soldiers.

    Just because - official commercial movie (10 min) for DBwV:
    Last edited by kato; 03 Mar 11, at 00:10.

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    If this spreads out, alot of my law school classmates will become disbared pretty soon

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    Now that Guttenberg has lost his legal immunity - by dropping his parliamentary mandate - he's already had over 80 criminal suits filed against him by private people. These can be grouped into three different accusations - copyright violation, fraud and embezzlement. These are largely irrelevant and will be dropped though; fraud and embezzlement as there is no monetary damage, the ones for copyright violation since the copyright holder has to file for these (and none of them have so far). If any original author that Guttenberg copied from files a charge, this could hold some repercussions for Guttenberg - maximum punishment is 3 years jail or a fine; the last time someone was fined for a similar case, it came up to about €10k (for Guttenberg it would be more, considering his higher income).

    The Parliamentary Scientific Service, where Guttenberg ordered theses from that he then used / copied without permission in his dissertation, is also currently evaluating which legal repercussions this copying act may have for Guttenberg; if it comes to the decision that criminal proceedings are possible, it will probably proceed that way.

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