Germany's gold repatriation leader elected chairman of Bundestag's budget committee


Far-Right MP Elected Head of Germany's Powerful Budget Committee

By Guy Chazan
Financial Times, London
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

An MP for the far-right Alternative for Germany has been elected chairman of the German Bundestag's powerful budget committee, in a significant coup for the populist party.

A fierce Eurosceptic who has criticised the eurozone bailouts and attacked Angela Merkel’s liberal refugee policy, Peter Boehringer once described Germany's Muslim population as "a great danger to our state."

... Dispatch continues below ...


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Chairmanship of the budget committee, which has a big say in Germany's eurozone policy, will give the AfD a critical platform to broadcast its anti-establishment, anti-euro views. Under Bundestag rules, the job is automatically awarded to the biggest opposition party in parliament.

The AfD assumed that mantle after winning 13 percent in the Bundestag elections in September, making it the most successful far-right party in Germany since the Second World War. The party has 92 seats in the 709-seat legislature.

Initially the Social Democrats were the largest opposition party but they forfeited that role after agreeing to form a new "grand coalition" government with Merkel's conservative bloc.

A graduate of the European Business School who worked for a time as a financial consultant, Boehringer rose to national prominence in the early years of this decade after calling on the Bundesbank, Germany's central bank, to repatriate the country's gold holdings.

The Bundesbank has since moved about half of its gold back from New York, London, and Paris to Frankfurt -- but has repeatedly denied this was in response to Boehringer's campaign.

However, the AfD MP wants the Bundesbank to bring back the rest of its holdings of the precious metal and allow the public to see it. The bank has resisted both calls.

Boehringer has also provoked controversy with his vehement attacks on Germany's political leaders, describing the chancellor as the "Merkel-bitch" and German judges as "whores of justice."

Gesine Loetzsch, an MP for the Left party and member of the budget committee, voted against Boehringer, citing his "misogynist" and "anti-Islamic" blogs and emails and his warning that mass immigration into Germany was part of a deliberate plan to change its ethnic composition.

Boehringer has complained that some of the quotes attributed to him are falsified.

In the end, Boehringer won the election with votes of the AfD and the liberal Free Democrats. Committee members from the Left party voted against him, while Merkel's CDU/CSU bloc, Greens, and Social Democrats abstained.

The AfD also won two other important appointments: Stephan Brandner was elected chairman of the judicial committee, while Sebastian Münzenmaier was installed as head of the tourism committee. ...

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