Bavarian chief pounded for refusing to ditch ally accused of antisemitism

Munich Jewish community leader Charlotte Knobloch says in a statement that Bavaria deputy governor Hubert Aiwanger “must restore trust and make clear that his actions are democratically and legally steadfast,” after he was accused of creating an antisemitic flyer as a teenager decades ago.

She makes the comment after talks with Bavaria Governor Markus Soeder, who said earlier Sunday that firing Aiwanger would be a “disproportionate” punishment.

Soeder is catching heavy criticism from political appointments over the refusal to discard Aiwanger, leader of the populist Free Voters party, a junior coalition partner.

The Bavarian premier had “made a simple power calculation” and in doing so had “damaged our country’s reputation,” German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, from Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats, tells the RND media group.

Aiwanger had “neither apologized convincingly nor been able to dispel the accusations convincingly,” she adds.

Green party co-leader Omid Nouripour accuses Soeder of putting political tactics above a proper reckoning with the past.

“That’s indecent and bad for Bavaria, as well as bad for Germany,” he told Spiegel magazine.

Knoblauch says recent days since the scandal broke have been “an enormous strain.”

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