The German media is predicting that Bavaria’s powerful conservative state premier Edmund Stoiber will soon announce his resignation. It follows controversy over allegations of snooping into the private life of a political rival. “I know the heat is on,” he said during the course of a New Year reception in Munich. “It’s in the papers every day. But if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” he quipped.
The woman at the centre of the scandal, Gabriele Pauli, says Stoiber’s office tried to gather information on her alcohol consumption and relationships to use against her. Bavarian Interior Minister Guenther Beckstein is tipped to replace Stoiber as state premier. But he has dismissed the claims as rumours.
The controversy has sent Stoiber’s popularity plummeting. Research has shown the popularity of his party, the Christian Democrats, has dropped by fifteen percent since the regional elections in 2003. It’s feared the scandal could damage the CSU party and eventually tarnish Chancellor Angela Merkel. Members of the party in Bavaria are due to hold a crisis meeting today.