Brandenburg state Premier Platzeck steps down over ill health | News | DW | 29.07.2013
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Brandenburg state Premier Platzeck steps down over ill health

One of Germany’s best-known politicians is stepping down because of ill health. Matthias Platzeck has served as premier of the eastern state of Brandenburg for more than a decade.

Premier Matthias Platzeck made the news of his resignation official at a press conference in Brandenburg's state capital, Potsdam, on Monday evening.

"I have decided to hand in my resignation to the president of the state assembly on August 28," he said.

This confirmed the news that he would be stepping down, which had broken earlier in the day.

The resignation is to take effect on August 28, as that is when the Brandenburg legislature meets for the first time following the summer break.

The state's interior minister, Dietmar Woidke, is to replace Platzeck as premier.

The 59-year-old Platzeck, who had said shortly after suffering a stroke in June that he had no intention of resigning, told reporters that he had changed his mind based upon the advice of his doctor and the heavy work toll of leading the state government.

He said his doctor had told him that "you can work 40-50 hours without any problem, but 80? Forget it."

Platzeck also said the decision had not come lightly.

"I wrestled with this decision for the whole six weeks [since his stroke]," the premier said.

Previous health issues

This is not the first time that Platzeck has been forced to resign from political office due to health concerns.

In 2006 he resigned as national chairman of the SPD following two bouts of acute hearing loss and a breakdown. Back then, Platzeck, who had only been in the post for around five months, had been seen by some as a possible future candidate for chancellor.

At that time, though, Platzeck decided to remain in the post of Brandenburg state premier, which he had held since 2002. He led a so-called grand-coalition of his SPD and the Christian Democrats from then until 2009. Since then, he has led a coalition with the Left party.

pfd/ccp (dpa, Reuters, AFP)