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Politician to Run for Reelection Despite Manslaughter Conviction

Dieter Althaus was recently convicted of involuntary manslaughter after a fatal skiing accident in Austria. Yet the Thuringia State Premier says the conviction will not keep him from running for reelection in August.

Thuringia State Premier Dieter Althaus

Dieter Althaus says his decision has the support of family, friends and doctors

Althaus, 50, is a popular Christian Democratic Union (CDU) politician and close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who herself is running for reelection in polls in September. He announced Thursday, March 5, that he will stand for reelection.

The incumbent premier is considered the strongest candidate on the CDU ticket for the former East Germany state of Thuringia. Recent opinion polls from the state indicate that Merkel's CDU risk losing control there to a left-leaning coalition. The far-right is also gaining ground in the state.

"I am ready to take responsibility as premier for the beautiful and successful state of Thuringia for another five years," Althaus, who was severely injured in the skiing accident, said in a statement posted on his party's Web site.

"I will stand," he added, saying he had held extensive consultations with family, friends and doctors about the decision.

Althaus accepts conviction

Ski slopes showing the area where the crash occurred

The crash left one woman dead

The comments on his political future were Althaus' first since fracturing his skull in the horrific New Year's Day accident.

On Tuesday, March 3, Althaus was found guilty by an Austrian court of manslaughter by negligence and fined 33,000 euros ($41,900).

The court in Irdning also ordered the premier to pay a fine of 5,000 euros in compensation to the husband of 41-year-old Beata Christandl, who died January 1 after colliding with Althaus on a slope in the Austrian province of Styria.

It is unclear yet whether the conviction will turn voters in Thuringia away from Althaus in the upcoming elections.

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