Scandal hits confidence in German army | News | DW | 12.05.2017

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Scandal hits confidence in German army

Confidence in the German army has dropped in the wake of recent revelations of a plot by members of the army to attack politicians. Questions about the extent of right-wing sentiment in the armed forces are being asked.

Some 49 percent of interviewees - 10 percent less than in July 2016 - said they have 'strong' or 'very strong' confidence in the German army, or Bundeswehr, with 49 percent expressing 'little or no' confidence, according to a survey for ARD's "Deutschlandtrend" published on Thursday.

The fall comes amid concerns of right-wing extremism in the army after right-wing lieutenant Franco A. was arrested at the end of April, having registered as a refugee to carry out xenophobic attacks. 

Prosecutors believe he had compiled a list of German officials to attack, including the former German president, Joachim Gauck, and the current justice minister, Heiko Maas.

The affair has also raised questions about how  Germany's asylum procedures failed to detect that Franco A. was operating under a false identity as a Syrian refugee.

Von der Leyen criticized

The approval ratings for Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) - pictured above - have also fallen significantly.

Some 58 percent of respondents - 16 percent less than in April - are 'less satisfied' with the work of the minister and 38 percent are 'very satisfied' or 'satisfied.' 

Sixty-five percent of respondents said the Bundeswehr lacks leadership, with 25 percent not sharing this view. Some 35 percent said that right-wing ideas are more widespread in the Bundeswehr than in the rest of society, with 58 percent not believing this.

German soldiers of the 291st Jagerbataillon.

German soldiers of the 291st Jägerbataillon

Von der Leyen has announced comprehensive reforms of the Bundeswehr.

Some 84 percent of those asked said they were 'well aware' that she is dealing with the problems in the Bundeswehr.

The responses were taken from results of interviews with 1,000 people held from Monday to Wednesday of this week.

jbh/kl (Reuters, AFP, dpa)