German defence minister Rudolf Scharping has finished his political career. He finished it disgracefully, against the background of a financial scandal.
Scharping is being accused of some doubtful story with PR-agency belonging to Moriz Hunzinger. Scharping got from this person a honorarium of 140,000 German Marks, of which 80,000 Marks were received by him in 1998, when he became defence minister, as a prepayment for his future memoirs. January, 1999, he received 60,000 Marks for some lectures. Though, members of German government have no right to receiving financial means from other sources except but federal budget. This was why, Scharping was accused of corruption.
The minister, now already ex-minister, tried at first to justify himself, though he understood soon that it would be better for him to send in resignation. This September, Bundestag election takes place in Germany, so the leadership of Social-Democratic Party of Germany (SDPG), whose member Scharping is, does not need this scandal to be exaggerated by the press and opposition.
German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said that he would ask the president for dismissing Rudolf Scharping from the post, because “there is no more base for co-operation in the government”. The Chancellor is not lucky in his ministers: Scharping is already 8th minister in the Schroeder government within the 4 years who sends in resignation.
After the minister is dismissed, he should not concern too much about his livelihood. According to the representative of the Tax-payer Union, if Scharping keeps his deputy mandate, he will for next two months receive ministerial salary in full – about 13,000 euro a month. Afterwards, if Scharping remains in the parliament after the election, his salary will make 6,787 euro a month.
Though, this hardly could comfort SDPG members. Prospects for victory have become more illusive. The only hope Social-Democrats have is that there will be no scandal the day before the election.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/07/18/44378.html