German Defense Minister resigns after series of blunders

The German Defense Minister, weakened by a series of blunders, announced her resignation on Monday, when Berlin is again in a hurry to increase its military support for Ukraine with tanks.

Christine Lambrecht was notably criticized from all sides since a greeting video deemed completely failed in which she rejoiced at the “encounters” that the war in Ukraine had allowed her to make.

“The focus of the media on my person for months hardly allows for objective reports and discussions about the soldiers, the Bundeswehr (the German army) and the directions of security policy in the interest of German citizens “, laments Christine Lambrecht in a statement.

In this context, “I asked the Chancellor today to relieve me of my duties as Minister of Defence”, adds the Social Democrat.

– The quack too much –

The chancellor “respects Ms Lambrecht’s decision and thanks her for the good work she has done during this difficult and challenging period”, reacted a spokeswoman for the German government.

The name of his or her successor is not yet known and will not be communicated on Monday, according to government sources.

“It is extremely important that the Bundeswehr knows who is leading it,” argued the secretary general of the conservative opposition CDU, Mario Czaja, for whom Mr. Scholz must “act very quickly”.

Several names circulate in the press, including Eva Högl, Commissioner of Defense at the Bundestag and responsible for an annual report on the state of the army, or Lars Klingbeil, co-leader of Ms. Lambrecht’s party, the SPD.

Chancellor Scholz should however opt for a woman so as not to break the parity, unprecedented in Germany, of his government team.

This resignation comes at a time when Germany is once again under pressure to deliver tanks to Ukraine. And while a meeting of Western allies, around the United States, will be held on Friday at the American base in Ramstein.

New aid to Ukraine, invaded by Russia, should be announced on this occasion.

Another major project, Germany is planning investments of 100 billion euros to modernize its army, following the war in Ukraine.

Aged 57, Ms. Lambrecht, Minister of Justice in the previous coalition government of Angela Merkel, has chained blunders since the start of the war in Ukraine on February 24.

Ms. Lambrecht first aroused criticism from kyiv by announcing shortly before the outbreak of war the shipment of 5,000 helmets, when the regime of Volodymyr Zelensky asked for heavy weapons.

She also used an army helicopter to go on vacation with her adult son.

The video in which she presented her vows at the beginning of January was the quack too many.

The minister appeared there in the center of Berlin, disheveled by gusts of wind, evoking the war in Ukraine between two explosions of firecrackers and fireworks, particularly popular with the Germans to celebrate the new year.

“A war is raging in the middle of Europe”, slipped the minister about the Russian invasion, evoking “many, many meetings with interesting and formidable people”. “For that, I say a big thank you.”

– “Negative headlines” –

Ms. Lambrecht also embodied the shortcomings of an army whose equipment is outdated and the difficulties in modernizing it. In mid-December, Berlin thus had to suspend new orders for Puma armored vehicles after a series of breakdowns affecting armored vehicles already in use by the army.

In the latest barometer from the Insa institute, she appeared in last position among political figures, behind the co-leaders of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. More than two-thirds of Germans (77%) wanted him to resign, according to another poll.

“Lambrecht has never managed to disentangle himself from negative headlines”, notes the public channel ARD, pointing to his “various political errors, often coupled with clumsy communication”.

For the daily Bild, the Chancellor cannot afford a new “casting error”.

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