In an open letter, prominent German writers, actors, filmmakers and musicians have urged the resignation of Interior Minister Horst Seehofer following the latest comments of the hard-line politician.
"Seehofer harms the values enshrined in our constitution," 290 German artists, writers, reporters, musicians and actors said on Friday, adding that his behavior toward others is "provocative, regressive and undignified" and that he is "blocking the path" toward a German society that stands a chance in the future.
He doesn't unify the country, he disunites it, say the signatories of an open letter posted on the website "Seehofer muss gehen" (Seehofer must leave), which include writer Günter Wallraff and Berlinale boss Dieter Kosslick, actors Peter Lohmeyer, Jochen Busse, Burghart Klaussner, Meret Becker and Hugo Egon Balder, musicians such as Inga Humpe, filmmakers Emily Atef, Andres Veiel and Dietrich Brüggemann, as well as writers Judith Schalansky, Ronja von Rönne and Terézia Mora.
Seehofer is damaging Germany's reputation
They say they are shocked by the way Seehofer has harmed Germany's reputation abroad and how he continues to sabotage the government's ability to function.
The German interior minister recently declared migration to be the "mother of all political problems." Some 18.6 million people with migrant roots live in Germany, and were thereby portrayed as causing the "problem."
The signatories also accuse Seehofer of making light of the racist, criminal attacks in Chemnitz. The German interior minister had expressed understanding for the far-right protesters in the Eastern German city, saying that he, too, would have taken to the streets
Threat to society's democratic spirit
They say they can no longer tolerate what they see as a threat to the democratic climate in German society. "His uninhibited speeches in beer tents, his indecisive press conferences significantly contribute to the fact that the public political debate has become harsher in this country," which enables the far-right Alternative for Germany(AfD) to further pursue its right-wing populist, radical rhetoric."
The appeal closes with the demand that Seehofer resign from his post as interior minister before Bavarians head to the polls in state parliamentary elections on October 14.
db/eg (with dpa)