Paul Kirchhof quits Merkel’s shadow cabinet
19 September 2005
BERLIN – A controversial flat tax academic who appears to have cost conservative candidate Angela Merkel votes in Germany’s weekend elections announced Monday he was quitting as her shadow finance minister.
Paul Kirchhof, a former high court judge, was held up during the election campaign by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder as proof that Merkel planned to cut taxes for the rich.
“That professor from Heidelberg!” became a standard line in every rally speech made by Schroeder which drew whistles and jeers from his supporters.
Kirchhof told the Munich newspaper Abendzeitung that he was returning to his university to focus on tax law and that he saw no place for himself in a future Merkel government.
Merkel failed to get enough votes for her desired centre-right government and will hold talks with Schroeder’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) and other smaller parties in a bid to set up coalition.
But given the close vote, Schroeder insists that he should stay on as chancellor.
Preliminary official results for Sunday’s election gave Merkel’s Christian Democratic alliance (CDU/CSU) a narrow plurality of 35.2 per cent against 34.3 per cent for Schroeder’s SPD.
Subject: German news