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Germany

German Opposition Deputy Resigns

German opposition leader Angela Merkel's deputy, Laurenz Meyer, resigned on Wednesday after being heavily criticized for failing to fully declare payments and electricity subsidies he received from his former employer.

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Meyer's departure is another blow to Merkel's election hopes

Pressure on Meyer to resign had been mounting steadily since German weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported at the weekend that Meyer received €60,000 ($80,300) after leaving his job as an executive at energy company RWE, and was still getting electricity at the subsidized RWE staff rate.

Although he does not legally have to declare such payments, his failure to do so had damaged his integrity, many of his fellow Christian Democrats argued.

Speaking to reporters in Berlin on Wednesday, Meyer said he had come to the conclusion that his continued work with the party would damage it more than help it. In a statement, he said he was leaving the party "without anger."

Setback for Merkel

Meyer's departure is a new setback to Merkel's hopes of running successfully against Gerhard Schröder for chancellor in the 2006 general elections.

Merkel has also been hurt by the recent departure of her finance policy expert Friedrich Merz and health policy expert Horst Seehofer. Both quit over differences with Merkel.

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