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Germany

German Economics Minister Glos Confirms Resignation Plans

Germany's Economics Minister Michael Glos publicly announced he would quit his job following a weekend of confusion about his future and frenzied speculation about his successor.

Glos talking to journalists

Glos doesn't want to do his job anymore

The 64-year-old Glos said he would formally ask Chacellor Angela Merkel to relieve him of his duty on Monday.

"I will ask the chancellor tomorrow morning to propose my resignation to the president," Glos told ZDF television on Sunday after a crisis meeting with the leader of his Christian Social Union (CSU) party, Horst Seehofer, in Munich.

In a resignation offer to Seehofer, which Glos handed in on Saturday, the minister cited his age and the need for the CSU, after disappointing state election results last September, to renew itself ahead of the national polls.

Sources within the CSU said the minister's poor relations with Seehofer apparently prompted him to write the letter.

Bad timing

Angela Merkel, Horst Seehofer and Michael Glos

Seehofer, right, and Gloss, middle, are said to have had a poor working relationship

Seehofer initially rejected the offer, but questions arose over whether Gloss should stay in office after publicly expressing a wish to go.

The daily Der Tagesspiegel noted on Sunday that Glos could not have picked a worse time to resign and that its execution could have hardly been any more awkward.

"Michael Glos offers to leave at a time when Germany, Europe and the whole world find themselves in the worst economic dcrisis of the last decades and countless decisions are expected of his ministry that could be decisive for the economic future of the whole country," the newspaper said in an editorial.

Sources close to the CSU told DPA news service that Glos would be replaced either by CSU Secretary General Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg or Bavarian Finance Minister Georg Fahrenschon.

Formally, Merkel is responsible for cabinet appointments, but in line with tradition, the parties in the ruling coalition propose replacements for their own members who leave the government.

Party politics

Supporters in traditional Bavarian clothes hold flags of the German Christian Social Union

Last year, the CSU lost its absolute majority in Bavaria

Glos has headed the economy ministry since November 2005 when the CDU and CSU took office in a grand coalition with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD).

The CSU lost its absolute majority in Bavarian state elections last September and was forced to seek a coalition with the business-oriented Free Democrats (FDP).

Seehofer took over the party leadership after the debacle and was also appointed Bavarian premier. He later chose Guttenberg to be the party's secretary general.

Guttenberg was elected in 2002 as a member of parliament in Berlin and rose to become the CSU's spokesman there on disarmament and arms control.

An unhappy time

A member of the CSU since 1970, Glos had an unhappy time heading the economics ministry and was often in the shadow of the popular Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck. He indicated recently that he was growing tired of his job.

Glos' decision to quit comes at a time when Germany is struggling to come to terms with a biting recession that has seen growth plummet, unemployment rise and credit dry up.

Last month the government announced a 50-billion-euro ($65-billion) fiscal stimulus package to help Europe's biggest economy weather the economic downturn.

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