Berlin, March 11: Ahead of key regional elections, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing heat after two lawmakers of the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) parliamentary group were accused of receiving benefits from state purchases of face masks. One of the lawmakers, involved in the scandal dubbed the "mask affair" by German media, is CDU leader Nikolas Löbel and another is Georg Nüsslein who is from CDU's CSU Bavarian sister party. Angela Merkel Panics After Forgetting Her Face Mask, Watch Video.
According to local media reports, Nikolas Löbel allegedly received €250,000 in payments as part of a state mask purchase. Georg Nüsslein is accused of taking more than €600,000 via a consultancy firm for mediating a mask order by the state. After the allegations surfaced, Nüsslein resigned last week from his post as one of the deputy leaders of Merkel’s parliamentary group. German Lawmakers Seek to Grill Merkel Over Wirecard Scandal.
Löbel announced that he would resign from his seat at the end of August and not seek election to the Bundestag to “to avert further damage" to his party. He also quit his membership in the CDU and apologized. "I take responsibility for my actions and draw the necessary political consequences," he reportedly stated. Meanwhile, the CDU-CSU alliance has ordered all of its MPs to declare any financial benefits gained from the coronavirus pandemic by March 12.
This declaration must take into account any financial benefits "from the purchase or sale of medical products such as protective equipment, testing and vaccination supplies, from the provision of contacts, from the forwarding of offers or enquiries, or from the provision of support or advice to third parties”, the letter seen by news agency AFP says. The scandal has hit the CDU’s popularity ratings just days ahead of two key regional elections in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate.