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German Defence Minister Resigns in Criticism

German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht resigned from Chancellor Olaf Scholz's government on Monday due to growing doubts about her ability to revive Germany's armed forces in the face of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Photo of German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht while using military equipment
Photo of German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht while using military equipment

Her resignation comes as Germany faces pressure to increase its military support for Ukraine and amidst concerns about the readiness of Germany's armed forces following issues with several Puma infantry tanks during a recent military drill.

Pressure for a Successor Mounts

The pressure to find a replacement for Lambrecht is growing, as U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is set to visit Berlin and attend a conference on Friday at a U.S. military base in Ramstein to discuss further support for Ukraine, including the potential deployment of German-made battle tanks. Chancellor Scholz thanked Lambrecht for her service and stated that he would act quickly to appoint a new Defence Minister.

German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht
German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht

Possible Candidates

Potential candidates for the Defence Minister include Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces Eva Hoegl, junior defense minister Siemtje Moeller, SPD party chief Lars Klingbeil, and Labour Minister Hubertus Heil. Scholz has committed to having an equal number of men and women in his cabinet, which could lead to further reshuffling if a male candidate is chosen to replace Lambrecht.

Criticism of Performance

Lambrecht has been criticized for her inability to quickly reform the German armed forces, despite allocating a 100-billion-euro ($108.11 billion) fund for this purpose following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Additionally, she received criticism for a New Year's message on social media.

She thanked servicemen and women but struggled to be heard over the noise of fireworks and seemingly confused the war in Ukraine with personal experiences.