Defense Minister Lambrecht apparently wants to resign

Christina Lambrecht

The Federal Minister of Defense has long been criticized.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin On Friday afternoon everything still looked routine. Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) said after a meeting with Inspector General Eberhard Zorn and the heads of Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, as it happened after the series of breakdowns with the infantry fighting vehicle puma go on. The Puma, she said in the Stauffenberg hall of the ministry, has a future with the armed forces.

At this point, it had long been clear that Lambrecht saw no future for himself as head of department. Because just a few hours later, the “Bild” newspaper and then the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” reported that the minister wanted to throw down.

The initiative to resign from office came from the SPDPolitician herself, the “Bild” reported in advance from its Saturday edition, citing several people familiar with the processes. The exact date of their planned withdrawal has not yet been determined. The “Süddeutsche Zeitung” reported that the minister wanted to resign from office next week.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense described the information from the “Bild” newspaper as “rumours, which we do not comment on”. A government spokesman said on request: “We do not comment on it.” A clear denial sounds different.

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Lambrecht, who has never made a secret of the fact that she would rather have been interior minister, has long been criticized. In addition to the blunders that have become public, such as her son flying with a helicopter, she is accused of never having developed any real interest in the office. In addition, she does not show the leadership that is required to enforce the “turning point” in the Ministry of Defense.

Lambrecht at a press event on Friday in Berlin

The SPD politician had previously rejected criticism of her.

(Photo: IMAGO/Mike Schmidt)

The “Bild” report also said that the reason for the planned resignation was Lambrecht’s realization that a new start was needed in the department. Most recently, the minister wore one Instagram published video from New Year’s Eve caused a stir. In it, her statements, which also revolved around the Ukraine war, were lost in the howling of the New Year’s rockets. In the ministry, the video had officially been dismissed as a private matter. Internally, however, it is seen as a major communicative glitch.

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Defense politicians from Lambrecht’s own party were surprised by the report. It can be heard from the other government factions that the SPD apparently looking for a way to solve the problem of personal matters without a chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) to damage. The head of government recently praised Lambrecht as a “first-class” defense minister in an interview with the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”.

However, Lambrecht is also in the difficult situation that Chancellor Scholz perceived as hesitant when it came to supplying tanks to the Ukraine to have to explain. At the same time, she sees herself confronted in her own faction with a strong pacifist current around faction leader Rolf Mützenich, who is pushing for negotiated solutions in Ukraine and is at least skeptical about further arms deliveries. Recently, there was also speculation that parliamentary group leader Mützenich could give up his post.

According to “Bild”, government and SPD circles are already discussing Lambrecht’s successor. The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces, Eva Högl (SPD), would be given good chances. The parliamentary state secretary in the defense ministry, Siemtje Möller, SPD leader Lars Klingbeil and labor minister Hubertus Heil had also been mentioned in the past as possible candidates for the defense department.

There has been speculation about a possible cabinet reshuffle for a long time, since Interior Minister Nancy Faser as the top candidate of the Hessian SPD for the state elections. Faeser is chairman of the state association, which wants to decide on the personnel at the beginning of February. The state elections take place in autumn.

So far, it has been traded as an option that Lambrecht could then switch to her desired position in the interior department. That should now be over if the reports of the announced withdrawal as defense minister are confirmed.

More: As long as Lambrecht is in office, the turning point will remain without a bang

With agency material.

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