German Press Review: Teufel′s Resignation | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 26.10.2004
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German Press Review: Teufel's Resignation

German editorial writers commented Tuesday on the resignation of Germany’s longest serving state premier, Christian Democrat Erwin Teufel.

The Stuttgarter Nachrichten thought the political wrangling in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, which lead to the resignation of premier Erwin Teufel, is catastrophic for the appearance of the Christian Democratic party and politicians in general. The paper said already more and more people are losing interest in voting which is fatal to democracy and that a political resignation just pushes the public further away. The daily added that arrogance and political power-grabbing, like in the case of Baden Württemberg, drives an even deeper wedge between the party basis and the voters.

The Financial Times Deutschland started off by saying that in Russia or Japan, parliamentarians quite often break out into fist fights in order to get their points across over which course the country should take. In Germany, it added, such shows of physical force are a rarity. But things got so heated in the run up to the resignation of Christian Democrat Erwin Teufel, Germany’s longest serving state premier, that politicians started slapping each other. The paper agreeed with Teufel’s decision to step down next April even though he made it after other CDU members pressured him to resign in order to make way for a younger successor. The paper thought the change would help the party strategically but said it won’t calm the current leadership upheaval.

The Tageszeitung in Berlin on the other hand, deplored the campaign against Erwin Teufel saying it was unfair. The daily criticised the CDU members who portrayed Teufel as power- hungry and based their case against him on only one argument: that he was too old and that he’s governed for too long -- since 1991. It’s baffled by that argument and asked since when is 65 too old for a party which places such importance on these types of traditions. The paper believed the prospect that Teufel could stay in power until 2010 was just too much for those who wanted his job.

Die Welt wondered why it took Teufel so long to announce his retirement. It doubted that it was because he wanted to hang onto power, but rather that Teufel was afraid of the consequences. The paper thought Teufel’s biggest competitor, Günther Oettinger won’t be doing himself a favor if he expects to automatically be given the position, adding that he doesn’t have Teufel’s blessing nor that of the party.

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