Merkel ally Horst Seehofer to resign CSU leadership: reports | News | DW | 07.11.2018

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Merkel ally Horst Seehofer to resign CSU leadership: reports

Sources close to Interior Minister Horst Seehofer have told a respected German newspaper that he plans to resign. Seehofer's spokesperson has denied the reports.

Horst Seehofer, the leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Bavarian sister party, will resign from his role in the next few days, according to a German media report.

Sources told Die Zeit newspaper that Seehofer's decision to leave the helm of the Christian Social Union (CSU) has been influenced by Merkel's planned resignation from the leadership of her own party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

What we know so far

  • Numerous sources close to Seehofer told Die Zeit that he plans to step down from the party leadership but wants to stay on as interior minister.
  • The Seehofer's spokesman denied the claims, saying the interior minister had not committed to stepping down from the role.
  • The CSU press office told DW that it had no further information.
  • Seehofer later denied reports, calling them a "red herring."

Seehofer's tenure as CSU leader: Seehofer has been at the helm of the party since 2008. The CSU is closely with Merkel's CDU, and is part of the German government coalition. Despite the alliance, Seehofer has been a stark critic of Merkel, in particular of her migration policy.

Increasingly under pressure: The past few months have put Seehofer under increased scrutiny. On the one hand, the CSU performed poorly in last month's state election in Bavaria; on the other, there have been increasing disputes with the party's government coalition partners, the CDU and the Social Democrats. Two big topics of contention: migration policy and Seehofer's support of disgraced former intelligence chief Georg Maassen.

Who could be his successor? The state premier of Bavaria, Markus Söder, is likely to succeed Seehofer as head of the CSU — if his resignation were confirmed. Söder has been one of Seehofer's strongest rivals. Just over a year ago, Seehofer had stepped down as state premier to make room for Söder after the CSU performed poorly in Germany's federal elections.

Merkel's twin resignation: Seehofer's reported resignation comes less than two weeks after Merkel announced that she would be stepping down from the helm of the CDU. She said she would remain chancellor until the end of her term in 2021.

gs/aw (Reuters, dpa)

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