Affair with teen fells Merkel ally
A state leader of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party has resigned after admitting to an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old girl he met on the Internet.
Christian von Boetticher, the unmarried 40-year-old leader of the Christian Democrats (CDU) in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany, stepped down late Sunday and renounced his bid to stand for state premier in a May 2012 election.
The right-wing rising star tearfully confirmed media reports that he had had an affair with the teenager he met in early 2010 on Facebook.
They began seeing each other in March last year but he ended the liaison in May when he was under consideration to succeed current CDU state premier Peter-Harry Carstensen.
"It was, quite simply, love," he told reporters. "It was a relationship that people in our private lives accepted and supported."
He noted that their relationship was not illegal under German law but that many people had "understandable moral reservations" about it.
Carstensen told German media he had been aware of "rumours about Boetticher's private life" since early July and called him immediately.
"I pointed out the explosive nature of these rumours and recommended that he very openly go on the offensive," he said.
His opponent from the Social Democrats, Torsten Albig, said he would not seek to exploit the scandal in his own campaign.
"It is not up to me to judge Mr Boetticher's private life," he told Monday's Handelsblatt newspaper.
The CDU is to decide Tuesday whether to keep Boetticher on as state parliamentary group leader.
© 2011 AFP