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Bodo Ramelow: German state governor under fire for 'Little Merkel' comment and Candy Crush admission

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By Euronews  with AP, AFP
Bodo Ramelow is govenror of the German state of Thuringia.
Bodo Ramelow is govenror of the German state of Thuringia.   -   Copyright  Martin Schutt/dpa via AP

A German state governor has come under fire for admitting to playing the mobile game Candy Crush during a discussion over the coronavirus pandemic.

Bodo Ramelow, who governs the state of Thuringia, defended playing games on his smartphone, saying he only did so during lulls in the meeting when others were replying to emails or smoking.

German officials have held regular video-conference negotiation sessions between Chancellor Angela Merkel and the 16 states-regions about COVID-19 restrictions.

A number of politicians across the country have criticised the Left Party politician for his statement.

"If he wants to tell us that he is tired of office, then he should just resign, then he will have plenty of time to play," said Christian Social Union (CSU) Secretary-General Markus Blume.

"Either this is an expression of the arrogance of power or of fatigue," added the leader of the Christian Democrats in Thuringia, Christian Hirte.

The vice-president of the liberal FDP party, Michael Theurer, also called on other politicians to have more "self-control" on social networks.

Meanwhile, Bodo Ramelow has also apologised for referring to Angela Merkel as "Merkelchen", or "little Merkel", during a recent online event.

Ramelow told German media that he had unintentionally displayed macho behaviour and regretted his actions. He said he had also apologised personally to Chancellor Merkel.

The online event in question took place on the new social networking app Clubhouse, which allows people to participate, by invitation, in audio chats and virtual conferences.

The condemnation of Ramelow comes after the Thuringia state governor had strongly opposed the German government's proposals in October to toughen restrictions during the pandemic.

The country has since extended a second national lockdown until February 14 and despite a fall in infection rates, officials are concerned about the potential impact of coronavirus variants such as the one first detected in the UK.

Additional sources • DPA