State premier returns to work following accident | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 20.04.2009
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State premier returns to work following accident

Dieter Althaus, an important ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, has returned to politics nearly four months after being sidelined by a skiing accident.

Dieter Althaus

Althaus hopes to be reelected in August

Althaus is stepping back into the limelight this Monday. The premier of the eastern state of Thuringia was to hold two press conferences and participate in a cabinet meeting on his first day back in office since being involved in a fatal ski crash on New Year's Day.

The popular Christian Democratic Union (CDU) politician was convicted of involuntary manslaughter by an Austrian court in March. The court fined Althaus 33,000 euros ($43,000) for causing the death of 41-year-old Beata Christandl, who died on January 1 after colliding with Althaus on a ski slope in the Austrian province of Styria.

Candle and cross on a ski slope

The skiing accident claimed the life of a 41-year-old woman

Althaus, whose was hospitalized with a skull fracture, says he has no memory of the accident.

Gearing up for elections

CDU spokesman Fried Dahmen declared Althaus "fit for office" and said he was ready to "completely take over" his old post on Monday.

Althaus, 50, is to seek reelection in Thuringia's state elections in August, which come a month before the federal vote. Meanwhile, politicians from competing political parties have criticized Althaus' decision to return to politics.

His leading rival for the top post in the state, Social Democrat Christoph Matschie, said the current administration was "burned out,” adding that a “change” was needed.

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