The showdown between the CSU and its member of the Sauter state parliament has been decided: the 70-year-old is now leaving the fraction. He has a clear message for the future.
Munich (dpa) – In the Union’s mask affair, former Bavarian Justice Minister Alfred Sauter now bows to enormous pressure and leaves the CSU faction. The 70-year-old is clearly anticipating his impending exclusion.
Sauter wrote to group chairman Thomas Kreuzer that he did not want the discussion about his membership of the group to shape the discussion in the coming days and weeks. The letter has been submitted to the German news agency. “I will therefore terminate my membership of the group with immediate effect.” But Sauter added: “I am convinced that the charges will prove to be unfounded and I am already saying that I would like to be re-admitted to the parliamentary group after the procedure is over.”
The Munich Public Prosecutor’s Office is investigating Sauter over an initial suspicion of corruption. He has denied the allegations through his attorney. The investigations concern the state’s purchase of corona-protective masks – and in connection with allegations of corruption against Bundestag member Georg Nüßlein, who, like Sauter, is also from the Swabian district of Günzburg.
On Sunday, Sauter had already resigned from all CSU party offices, including his seats on the CSU presidency and board and the head of the CSU finance committee. At the time, however, he had refused to leave the parliamentary group, merely stating that his membership would be suspended. “As I am no longer a member of the group until the allegations are cleared up in the ongoing proceedings, additional sanctions on the part of the group are not only unnecessary, but also illegal,” he warned the group chairman.
According to reports, the executive committee of the parliamentary group was ready to initiate the exclusion of Sauters on Monday – the entire parliamentary group would have had to make a decision on Thursday. State parliament CSU had issued an ultimatum to Sauter until Sunday afternoon to dispel the allegations against him “plausibly and understandably”. Sauter had rejected the ultimatum. The investigation is a matter for the prosecutor, so he is not commenting.
On Monday, Sauter wrote that after it emerged that the group chairman wanted to conduct an exclusion procedure despite his letter to suspend his membership, he had been asked by many to “save the CSU colleagues in the Bavarian state parliament a vote on this issue”. “After 31 years that is very difficult for me, partly because many people quickly express the suspicion of innocence, but apparently no longer take it seriously.”
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