German MPs quit ruling conservatives over face mask scandals

Both faced pressure over accusations they profited from helping broker contracts.

German MPs quit ruling conservatives over face mask scandals

Two MPs left Germany’s ruling conservative parties Monday over allegations that they each profited from helping broker face mask supply deals during the coronavirus pandemic.

The scandal, just months ahead of September’s general election, risks fueling voter discontent with the center-right parties, which will be running for the first time in a decade and a half without Angela Merkel leading their ticket as she heads toward retirement.

Nikolas Löbel, who last week confirmed he was involved in businesses dealings over face masks after reports that his company earned around €250,000 by brokering sales contracts, announced his immediate resignation as an MP and that he was leaving the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the party of Chancellor Merkel.

“To avoid further damage to my party, I am stepping down from my Bundestag mandate with immediate effect,” Löbel said.

MP Georg Nüßlein said he was leaving the Christian Social Union (CSU) — the Bavarian sister party of the CDU. The two parties form a single parliamentary group in the Bundestag. Nüßlein faces a corruption investigation over allegations he received €660,000 for helping broker government deals for face mask suppliers. He has denied any wrongdoing.

But Nüßlein still plans to remain an MP for the rest of his parliamentary term, despite calls from within his own party to resign as a lawmaker. He has said he does not plan to run for reelection in September.

CSU leaders said in a statement Monday that Nüßlein’s decision to leave the party was “inevitable, also to avoid further damage to the CSU.”

Löbel and Nüßlein had each on Sunday announced they were leaving the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, but faced calls to quit their other political offices.

Spiegel reported there may be more politicians involved in brokering face mask deals, and Ralph Brinkhaus, the leader of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, told broadcaster ARD on Sunday evening that all “cases of doubt” within party ranks would be cleared up.

Source : Politico EU More