Fierce Merkel critic resigns from conservative party
16 Jan 2017 - 0:00
Berlin: A fierce internal critic of German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced yesterday she would resign from centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, accusing Merkel of having harmed the country with her migration policy.
Erika Steinbach’s move could weaken Merkel’s standing among conservative voters ahead of a September election in which the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is expected to enter federal parliament for the first time.
Steinbach strongly criticised Merkel for allowing more than a million refugees into Germany in the past two years, accusing her of violating the law and not consulting other EU members before her decision in 2015.
“All this contradicted our current legal situation and also isolated Germany in Europe because of the uncoordinated action,” Steinbach said.
The conservative lawmaker also linked her resignation to Merkel’s decision to accelerate Germany’s shift away from nuclear power and fossil fuels towards renewable sources of energy after the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011.
The decision to shut down the country’s oldest nuclear plants and bid farewell to nuclear power as a technology was “without any legal basis”, she said, adding there had been no threat that a similar disaster could happen in Germany.
Steinbach also cited Germany’s participation in euro zone bailout programmes for highly indebted countries such as Greece, a policy she said had “unhinged” the EU’s Growth and Stability Pact and violated joint rules.
A CDU member for more than 40 years, concluded: “That’s not my party anymore.”
Steinbach has become a hate figure in Poland and the Czech Republic for her former role as president of Association of Expellees — a job in which she documented the fate of Germans expelled from Eastern Europe after World War II.
Steinbach said she would not join another party, but added she hoped the AfD would enter parliament in next election. “So that there is a real opposition again,” she said. The AfD’s “flesh is also from the flesh of the CDU,” she said, and had some smart people among its members.