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Germany

Controversial politician keeps party membership, despite race remarks

Controversial former politician Thilo Sarrazin has held on to his membership in the center-left Social Democratic Party, overcoming efforts by party leaders to get him expelled for his inflammatory remarks on race.

Thilo Sarrazin standing in front of a poster for his book Germany Does Away With Itself

Sarrazin's book has not been popular with SPD leadership

Thilo Sarrazin's book "Germany Does Away With Itself" raised the ire of the Social Democrats' (SPD) party leadership and many in Germany for arguing that intelligence is partly determined by genetics and that Muslim immigrants were lowering German standards.

Some in the SPD wanted him out of the party. But Thilo Sarrazin remains a member of the struggling center-left party after proceedings against him were dropped late on Thursday by a party tribunal in his Berlin district.

According to SPD organizational statutes, a member can only be expelled from the party if he "violates the principles of the SPD, particularly if he disregards the imperative for inner-party solidarity or is guilty of a dishonorable act."

In exchange for the withdrawal of the motion to have him removed, Sarrazin agreed to adhere to the party principles in the future.

"I never intended to breach Social Democratic principles with my arguments," he wrote in a statement. "When speaking at future events and public appearances, I will make sure that my commitment to Social Democratic principles is unquestionable."

Sarrazin was a high-profile SPD politician when his book was published last year. His claim that immigration would be the downfall of German society set off a nationwide debate about the integration of immigrants in Germany.

After mounting pressure he stepped down from his position on the board of Germany's central bank.

Author: Holly Fox (AFP, dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Andreas Illmer

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