In a surprise move, German Economics Minister Michael Glos offered to resign Saturday, less than eight months before the country votes in a general election, but the offer was promptly turned down by his party boss.
Glos said his party needs renewal, creativity and credibility
The weekly Bild am Sonntag reported that Glos had informed Chancellor Angela Merkel of his intention.
An economics ministry spokesperson confirmed the report on Saturday, Feb. 7.
The minister is a member of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU). The 64-year-old Glos expressed his desire to step down in a letter to CSU leader Host Seehofer, who is also president of the southern German state of Bavaria.
Bild am Sonntag, which said it had obtained a copy of the letter, said Glos told Seehofer he wanted to quit in order to make way for a renewal in the CSU. The letter reportedly said that the CSU needed "renewal, creative power and credibility more than ever."
Glos told Seehofer that after the general election on Sept. 27 he no longer wanted to remain in the government and asked to be relieved of his cabinet duties as soon as possible, Bild am Sonntag said.
Seehofer said he wanted talk to Glos' about the reasons the resignation offer
Seehofer, however, refused Glos' resignation on Saturday.
"Michael Glos has my complete trust," Seehofer said according to his spokesperson. "I have informed Michael Glos that I will not comply with his request."
Anonymous sources told the German DPA news agency it was likely Seehofer would name a replacement quickly. Peter Ramsauer, the tough-talking head of the CSU parliamentary party in Berlin, was seen as the most likely successor.
In line with tradition, the parties in the ruling coalition propose replacements for their own members who leave the cabinet.
The CSU lost its absolute majority in Bavarian state elections last February and was forced to seek a coalition with the free-market liberal Free Democratic Party.
Glos has been economics minister since Merkel's conservatives took office in a grand coalition with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) in 2005. He joined the CSU in 1970 and was elected to parliament six years later.
His decision to quit comes at a time when Germany is facing its deepest recession in decades, with growth slumping, unemployment rising and banks reluctant to provide credit.