German Chancellor Angela Merkel held an emergency meeting with the leaders of coalition partners to defuse a widening crisis in her two-month-old government sparked by the opening of a child pornography probe against Indian-origin former lawmaker Sebastian Edathy.
Merkel met Horst Seehofer, chairman of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) and Sigmar Gabriel, chairman of the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), for about three hours yesterday in the backdrop of the rising tension within the coalition following the resignation of Food and Agriculture Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich.
Friedrich quit last week over suspicions he leaked confidential information about the probe against Sebastian Edathy while serving as interior minister. Edathy, son of a migrant from Kerala, has denied wrongdoing but has left parliament. The three leaders left the meeting without making any statement. The state prosecutor’s office in Hannover, which is conducting the investigation, said their raids on the houses and offices of Edathy provided very little evidence relevant for a criminal prosecution against Edathy and they believed that he had received advanced information about the raids.
Edathy was the SPD’s home affairs spokesman until August and a member of the party’s managing board. He unexpectedly laid down his seat in the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, on February 7, few days before the prosecutor’s office opened its probe. Ahead of yesterday’s meeting, Merkel called for a thorough clarification of the child pornography affair involving Edathy.