There has been speculation about her resignation for days. Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht has now asked Chancellor Scholz to release her. Scholz accepted the SPD politician’s request for dismissal, said deputy government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann.
In her statement, Lambrecht justified her decision as follows:
“Today I asked the Federal Chancellor to be dismissed from the office of Federal Minister of Defence. The months of media focus on my person hardly allow for factual reporting and discussion about the soldiers, the Bundeswehr and security policy decisions in the interests of the citizens of Germany “The valuable work of the soldiers and the many motivated people in the business area must be in the foreground. That’s why I decided to make my office available. I thank everyone who is committed to our security every day and wish them all my best all the best for the future.”
Controversial for a long time
The SPD politician had been in office for a good 13 months, but had been controversial for a long time. Critics accused her of slow procurement for the Bundeswehr and a lack of expertise, but her public appearance was repeatedly criticized.
A photo of her son traveling in a Bundeswehr helicopter made negative headlines. Lambrecht recently caused irritation with a New Year’s message spread on Instagram, in which she spoke about the Ukraine war accompanied by New Year’s Eve fireworks.
Especially from the opposition, but also from the ranks of the traffic light coalition, there were recently calls for the personnel to be clarified quickly.
Successor still unclear
It is still unclear who will succeed Lambrecht in office. The head of the defense department is in the traffic light coalition of the SPD. SPD leader Lars Klingbeil, Labor Minister Hubertus Heil, Chancellor Wolfgang Schmidt, the parliamentary state secretary in the Federal Ministry of Defense, Siemtje Möller and the military commissioner Eva Högl are traded as candidates.
Deputy government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann said that Chancellor Scholz would promptly submit a proposal to the Federal President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, for filling the post. Out of “respect for the minister’s decision”, the decision on the successor “in all likelihood” will no longer be announced on Monday. The “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” reports that a decision should be made on Tuesday.
Strack-Zimmermann for quick succession planning
The chairwoman of the Defense Committee in the Bundestag, the FDP politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, called for a quick succession plan for Lambrecht. She told the newspapers of the Funke media group that she now expects the Social Democrats to name a successor as soon as possible. Strack-Zimmermann named assertiveness in the ministry and “above all understanding and heart for the soldiers” as prerequisites for the office.
“Respect for the decision”
Federal Economics and Climate Protection Minister Robert Habeck wished the outgoing Defense Minister all the best. The Green politician said he had respect for Lambrecht’s decision. She took responsibility in difficult times. “The fact that she now decided to take this step was certainly not easy. It shows how seriously she takes the office.”
Defense ministers meeting on Friday
On Friday, the western allies will meet in the so-called Ramstein format to discuss further arms deliveries to Ukraine. The possible delivery of battle tanks to Ukraine will also be discussed. Green party leader Omid Nouripour therefore insisted on a quick decision and also called for parity between women and men to be maintained in the federal cabinet.
After Federal Family Minister Anne Spiegel (Greens), Lambrecht is the second member of the cabinet to resign in the government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD).
With her departure in April, Spiegel had drawn the consequences of a controversial vacation in France during the air disaster in 2021 when she was state environment minister in Rhineland-Palatinate.