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Europe

German Press Review: Why Hohmann Has to Go

German editorial writers on Wednesday continued to comment on the Christian Democratic Union’s struggle to expel right-wing backbencher Martin Hohmann after he called Jews a “race of perpetrators” in a recent speech.

The Stuttgarter Nachrichten observed that even the most conservative of parliamentarians will give their nod to Hohmann’s expulsion in a special meeting set for Friday, for reasons of self-interest if nothing else. The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has to ensure that its programs aren’t generally suspected of being radically rightwing because of this association with the Hohmann affair, the paper said.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung wanted an explanation for why a week ago, Hohmann was allowed to stay in the party, but now suddenly, he has to go. “From the top down, the CDU is stuttering through convoluted explanations,” says the Munich paper, “It lacks the simple courage to say that it’s separating from Hohmann not because of some deep insight, but because it was driven to it.”

The B.Z. of Berlin said anyone sowing hatred has no place in a democratic party. “All people deserve protection,” it wrote, and added: “Germans, foreigners, Christians, Jews, handicapped, women, gays -- anyone insulting or injuring any such people violates all of humanity.”

The Kieler Nachrichten commented on Germany’s latest transport of nuclear waste from a reprocessing plant in France to a storage facility in the rural village of Gorleben in the north of the country. The shipment was again accompanied by massive protests by anti-nuclear demonstrators. “The only purpose of the protest action is to provoke and tweak the government,” the paper argued, and said that a stable democracy has to be able to absorb that kind of expression of opinion. But it thought that the repetitive spectacle would be more tolerable if the protesters didn’t fully ignore the reality that Germany has no other option but to take its atomic waste back.

Cologne’s Express turned its attention to the state of German pharmaceuticals giant Bayer following the announcement that the company plans to sell off its chemicals unit as part of overall restructuring. “The giant is teetering,” the paper commented. For the employees who are going to lose their jobs due to the restructuring, it’s a painful experience, it wrote, but concluded that Bayer’s CEO had few options other than restructuring because he has to keep the company afloat in the face of global competition.

The Westdeutsche Zeitung in Düsseldorf predicted that even after the split from its chemicals unit, Bayer will be walking a tightrope for a while yet, as no one knows how much the scandal over its cholesterol-lowering drug Lipobay, or Baycol as it is known in the U.S., will cost the company in damages.