Germany’s Lachette asks SPD rival to apologize for criticizing ministry raid

CDU candidate for chancellor Laschet attends CSU party meeting in Nuremberg
The CDU candidate for Chancellor Laschet attends the CSU party meeting in Nuremberg
Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) candidate Armin for chancellor on stage with Marcus Bloom, CDU general secretary Paul Zimiak and Marcus Bloom, general secretary of the CDU’s Bavarian sister party Christian Social Union CSU, after a CSU party meeting in Nuremberg, Germany On September 11 in Nuremberg, Lachette, Germany. , 2021. Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay

September 11, 2021

BERLIN (Reuters) – Armin Lachette, the conservative candidate to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor of Germany in this month’s election, on Saturday demanded an apology from her Social Democrat rival for criticizing a money-laundering investigation in which His ministry included raids.

Prosecutors raided the finance and justice ministries on Thursday as part of an investigation by the government’s anti-money laundering agency, highlighting Germany’s failures to tackle financial crime.

The raids come at a crucial moment for Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, whose SPD is leading opinion polls ahead of national elections on 26 September. In response to the raid, Scholz stated that prosecutors could have put their direct questions in writing.

“At a time when prosecutors are looking for a ministry, the correct response is that we will help prosecutors, not to cast doubt on the rule of law. It helps populists when you react like this ,” Lachette said with thunderous applause from the delegates at the Bavarian CSU party convention.

“I hope he apologises,” Leschett said, adding that Germany should be a model in accepting the actions of justice officials, while it criticizes populist governments elsewhere for defaming prosecutors and judges.

Lachette, who heads Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), is struggling to appeal to voters and is trailing in a conservative bloc election in which Merkel is not running for a historic fifth term.

The CDU grandees backed Laschet in April as the conservative chancellor candidate ahead of the more popular CSU leader, Markus Soeder. The two parties form a parliamentary bloc.

Some in the CSU are less than enthusiastic about Lachette’s candidacy, but at the end of a broad conference speech, the CDU leader received cheers and standing ovations.

The FGW poll on Friday supported the SPD at 25%, the CDU/CSU block at 22%, the Greens at 17%. The Liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) were both at 11% and the far-left Linke at 6%.

(Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Mike Harrison)

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