Cablegate: Resignation of Liberal Justice Minister Almost

Published: Mon 9 Aug 2004 09:08 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Resignation of Liberal Justice Minister Almost
Topples Baden-Wuerttemberg Government
REF: Frankfurt 5551
Sensitive but unclassified - not for internet distribution
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The July 22 resignation of Baden-
Wuerttemberg (B-W) Minister of Justice Corinna Werwigk-
Hertneck (Free Democrat Party - FDP), amid allegations that
she leaked confidential information to former Economics
Minister and B-W FDP chairman Walter Doering, triggered a
call for new elections by B-W Minister-President (M-P)
Erwin Teufel (Christian Democrat Union - CDU). Teufel's
subsequent retraction -- reportedly the result of pressure
from national CDU chair Angela Merkel -- has led CDU and
opposition insiders to question his leadership during the
FDP scandal and postulate that Teufel saw the resignation
as a chance to solidify his absolute majority through new
elections. END SUMMARY.
2. (U) Corinna Werwigk-Hertneck resigned as B-W Justice
Minister on July 22 following reports that she leaked
confidential information to former B-W FDP chairman and B-W
Economics Minister Walter Doering on investigations against
him related to the Flow-Tex scandal (reftel.) In a
personal statement released to the press, Werwigk-Hertneck
rejected the charges but noted that she would step down to
prevent further damage to the office.
3. (SBU) Although initially calling for new elections in
the wake of Werwigk-Hertneck's resignation, M-P Teufel
stated on July 23 that he believed that the CDU-FDP
coalition was capable of governing until state elections in
2006. Press reports attribute the reversal to pressure
from national CDU chair Angela Merkel, who was reportedly
asked by national FDP chairman Guido Westerwelle to
intervene with Teufel on the FDP's behalf.
4. (SBU) The CDU-FDP governing coalition has resisted
calls from opposition Social Democrats and Greens to
discuss Teufel's about-face, voting down a July 28 SPD-
Greens' motion to discuss new elections. This followed an
agreement between the CDU and SPD caucuses the day before
to hold talks on the issue. B-W SPD caucus chief Wolfgang
Drexler labeled the rejection a violation of parliamentary
procedure and threatened to bring the matter before the B-W
Constitutional Court.
5. (SBU) COMMENT: Teufel's call for new elections damaged
relations with the FDP and was perceived by many within the
B-W CDU as an impromptu power-grab to extend his elected
mandate as M-P for an additional five years in the face of
declining support. Observers (including some within his
own party) contend that recent miscalculations have damaged
Teufel's reputation as a keen political tactician. Septel
will track debate within B-W on whether Teufel should stand
again for M-P in the state's 2006 elections. END COMMENT.
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