The North Rhine-Westphalia chapter of the far-right AfD party received an illegal €49,000 donation in 2016 from a Dutch foundation – the same one that gave €150,000 to an AfD district chapter in southern Germany, it emerged on Friday. Both payments, along with a €130,000 donation from a Swiss drugs company, have been returned.
Angela Merkel visited Chemnitz on Friday, three months after the violent death of a German triggered far-right protests in the eastern city. The chancellor met with Saxony’s state premier and the local mayor. (Tagesspiegel)
Commenting on Britain’s cabinet crisis over Brexit, a German government spokesperson said a disorderly departure of Britain from the EU would be the worst-case scenario.
Alice Weidel, co-floor leader of the Alternative for Germany, rejected accusations she dropped the ball when her electoral district failed to immediately report donations worth €130,000 and €150,000. Some politicians have urged her to resign.
A majority of Germans surveyed – 56% – now think Angela Merkel should stay on as chancellor till 2021, up 7 points since January. Some 41% want her to resign early. (ARD)
Merkel’s favored candidate to succeed her as party leader, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, should become the new CDU head, winning 46% support among party members, a survey showed. Rival Friedrich Merz got 31% and Jens Spahn 12%. (ARD)
Horst Seehofer, 69, Interior Minister and leader of Bavaria’s Christian Social Union, will resign as the party head on January 19. He did not refer to his position as minister, although some want him to give up that post as well.
The Greens party closed in on Angela Merkel’s Christian Union alliance, grabbing 23% of the votes in an election poll, up six points from last week. Merkel’s group was stable at 26%. The Social Democrats and Alternative for Germany dropped slightly to third place with 14% each. (ARD)
Berlin should not force coal power plant operators to shut down their operations by 2020, but reach agreements with utilities to take plants out of commission by 2022, possibly in return for compensation, a government committee has tentatively agreed.
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