Mask affair: Union heading for an open power trial | Free press


Berlin / Munich (dpa) – The affair over the profits of members of the Bundestag in the purchase of corona masks is putting the Union in dire need.

The CSU member of the Bundestag Georg Nüßlein and the CDU parliamentarian Nikolas Löbel announced on Sunday that they will no longer stand up for the Bundestag in September as a result of the allegations. Both want to keep their mandate for the time being – against the will of the party and faction leadership. They merely explained their departure from the Union faction.

A week before the state elections in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, the Union is therefore heading for an open showdown. CDU leader Armin Laschet and union faction chairman Ralph Brinkhaus demanded an immediate withdrawal. “Anyone who tries to earn money for themselves as a representative in this crisis must immediately leave the parliament,” Laschet told the “Südkurier”. CSU boss Markus Söder tweeted: “Everyone involved should immediately clear the table and draw fundamental conclusions. Everything else damages confidence in politics. “

Brinkhaus also called on the two MPs to give up their mandates immediately. At the same time, he admitted in the ARD report from Berlin that the parliamentary group had tied hands on this point. “We know who is a member of the parliamentary group, we have no idea who is a member of the German Bundestag,” he said. “It is now a moral question for both colleagues how to deal with it. It would be better for parliamentarism if they gave up their mandate in the Bundestag. ‘

The two MPs are said to have collected six-figure commissions for brokering with corona protective masks. The Munich Public Prosecutor’s Office is, among other things, investigating Nüßlein because of the initial suspicion of bribery and bribery of elected officials. The CSU politician had already announced on Friday that he was stepping down from his position as a parliamentary deputy to the Union and would no longer be a candidate for the Bundestag.

On Sunday evening, Nüßlein released a statement through his lawyer saying, “My person’s public bias has reached a level that is unbearable to me, but especially to my party.” To avert any disadvantage to his party, he resigned from the faction with immediate effect. Still, he wants to keep his mandate until the end of the electoral term. “I combine this with the expectation that the initial suspicion of crimes against me will be rebutted while I am a member of the German Bundestag.”

Löbel admitted to participating in controversial cases with corona protective masks on Friday. His company received commissions of around 250,000 euros for negotiating mask purchase contracts between a Baden-Württemberg supplier and two private companies in Heidelberg and Mannheim. In a first step, Löbel had only withdrawn from the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Bundestag. On Sunday, the 34-year-old announced that he would resign his parliamentary mandate at the end of August, would no longer run for the next Bundestag and would immediately leave the parliamentary group of the Union.

The chairman of the left-wing parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Dietmar Bartsch, criticized the fact that Löbel had only given up his mandate in the Bundestag at the end of August. «Resigning from the Bundestag’s mandate within six months obviously has to do with pension entitlements. Still a benefit optimizer, ”he wrote on Twitter. The pension benefit for Bundestag members increases with each membership year by 2.5 percent of the monthly allowance for Bundestag members (currently EUR 10,083.47), which would be EUR 252. The new parliament will be elected in September.

Two other CDU MPs had recently made negative headlines. Bundestag CDU member Axel Fischer is under investigation for initial suspicion of corruption. After the Bundestag lifted the 54-year-old’s immunity from MPs, federal investigators on Thursday searched six properties in Berlin and Baden-Württemberg, including the Bundestag’s office, apartments and commercial buildings, the Munich prosecution said. Fischer described the allegations against him in the “Augsburger Allgemeine” as “unfounded”.

This was preceded by extensive investigative measures against former and active members of the Bundestag who had belonged to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). “You are accused of receiving money from, among others, Azerbaijan between 2008 and 2016 through British letterbox companies with Baltic accounts,” the prosecution said. “Linked to this was the request to influence the interests of representatives of the state of Azerbaijan in motions and votes on various resolutions and in the performance of functions and committees of the Council of Europe.”