In another blow to Germany’s opposition Christian Democrats, the party’s top manager has been forced to resign over a payments scandal. Laurenz Meyer – the CDU’s general secretary – faced growing criticism over recent days after admitting receiving previously undisclosed payments from his former employer, while holding top political posts.
“I am now in a situation where I have to acknowledge that my work hurts the party more than it helps it,” he told a hastily arranged news conference. He added that he had told the party’s leader Dr Angela Merkel he was going to resign. She had resisted calls for him to go but the affair has rocked the CDU’s credibility. Recently another party member was also forced to step down in a similar case.Dr Merkel is now under increasing pressure ahead of two key state elections in coming months. Next year the conservatives will contest the state of North Rhine Westphalia, a result they are hoping could help open the way to victory in the 2006 general election.