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German Greens to oust Tübingen mayor over racist comments

May 8, 2021

Members of the environmentalist Greens party have overwhelmingly voted to remove Boris Palmer from their ranks. The mayor had used a racial slur against soccer player Dennis Aogo.

Boris Palmer
"The comments by Boris Palmer are racist and repulsive," says Annalena BaerbockImage: ULMER/imago images

Leaders of Germany's Greens voted on Saturday to exclude the mayor of Tübingen from the party over his racist remarks in a social media post about a Black soccer player.

Boris Palmer, who has come under fire before for his comments on migrants and minorities, called former German player Dennis Aogo a "bad racist" in a Facebook post on Thursday, and used a racial slur.

His post angered members of his party, which is leading in opinion polls ahead of Germany's September elections.

"The comments by Boris Palmer are racist and repulsive," Annalena Baerbock, the Green's candidate for chancellor tweeted.

She said the mayor repeated "provocations, which exclude and hurt people,'' thereby losing the Green's support. 

Greens vote overwhelmingly to oust Palmer

In a party conference in Baden-Württemberg, the state in which Tübingen is located,161 delegates voted in favor of expulsion proceedings for Palmer and 44 against. Eight members abstained.

"The time is ripe for this," Green Party state leader Oliver Hildenbrand said of the decision, adding that Palmer was polarizing public debate with "staged taboo breaches."

The mayor of Tübingen had also made controversial comments early on in the pandemic, saying that many people who had succumbed to COVID-19 would have died anyway.

"We may be saving people in Germany, who would be dead in six months anyway," Palmer had said in an interview.

Equal opportunity for all?

German soccer tainted with racism

Palmer's latest scandal comes just days after former Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was relieved of his duties as a member of Hertha Berlin's supervisory board. 

Aogo posted on Instagram a racist message which Lehmann had sent to him, seemingly in error.

"Is Dennis actually your token Black guy?" read the WhatsApp message.

The racist comment prompted Hertha Berlin to sack Lehmann.

mvb/jlw (dpa, AP, AFP)