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The BBC's Rob Broomby in Berlin
"The nation has been gripped by twin scandals"
 real 28k

Friday, 26 November, 1999, 22:31 GMT
Scandals hit German politics
Chancellor Schroeder Another setback for the chancellor

German politics has been hit by scandals involving both the main parties.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrat successor as state premier of Lower Saxony has announced his resignation following allegations of corruption.

Gerhard Glogowski - a close ally of the chancellor - has been accused of accepting favours from local companies since he took office in 1998.

"I have handed in my resignation to the speaker of the Lower Saxony state parliament," Mr Glogowski said.

His resignation follows questions about who paid for a trip he took with his wife last year to Egypt, and who footed the bill for his wedding reception.

Mr Glogowski originally said he had paid for the travels, but later acknowledged he covered the costs only after questions arose.

Gerhard Glogowski Mr Glogowski has also been linked to an irregular property deal
In a brief resignation statement, he said he had stepped down in the face of growing accusations to spare his party and his family.

Mr Glogowski's departure comes as the chancellor's political fortunes had looked to be recovering. Earlier this week, he helped save Germany's second largest construction firm, Philipp Holzmann AG, from ruin.

But it is not only the Social Democrats who are under the spotlight for alleged wrongdoing.

Christian Democrats

The scandal coincides with an admission by a senior Christian Democrat that the party put funds into secret accounts when it was in power in the early 1990s.

Speaking on German radio, Heiner Geissler - who was number two in the CDU hierarchy under the former Chancellor, Helmut Kohl - confirmed that the accounts had been used to channel cash secretly to local party chiefs.

"I've always believed it was wrong," he said, "and it must be cleared up now."

Prosecutors are currently investigating the Christian Democrats for possible tax avoidance.

They are focusing on a $520,000 donation made by an arms dealer to a senior CDU official in 1991 that has sparked allegations of kick-backs.

Earlier this week, Mr Kohl angrily denied any knowledge of the donation and rejected accusations it was intended as a bribe. He demanded the investigation begin immediately so he could clear his name.

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See also:
25 Nov 99 |  Business
Schroeder saves Holzmann

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