Germany: Power at any price

The political crisis that has rocked Germany since the beginning of the new millennium is not without its ironic, if painful, sides. Take the spectacle of Germany’s former chief executive Helmut Kohl going around cap in hand and doing what obviously comes naturally to him – collecting money from wealthy sympathisers. This was no fund raising exercise for flood victims’ in Mozambique, but for the relief of His Besieged Highness himself, the erstwhile chancellor, the victim of his own illicit shenanigans.

The World Today Updated 27 October 2020 Published 1 April 2000 4 minute READ

Thomas Kielinger

UK correspondent, German daily Die Welt

Helmut Kohl, seventy on 3 April, while admitting to his ‘mistake’ in having operated secretly donated funds to the tune of almost one million dollars between 1993 and 1998, has yet to show any real contrition or remorse. On the contrary, in the swashbuckling manner of a seasoned show-boater he all but preened himself on his money-pulling magnetism, while still under investigation for precisely that.

It left the Christian Democrats (CDU) squirming. As compensation for the fines incurred by Kohl’s malfeasance, they accepted their former chairman’s financial gift with gritted teeth, quickly adding that ‘the loss of credibility cannot be redressed with money alone.’ There lies the rub.

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