German minister 'must go'

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The Independent Online
BONN (Reuter) - Leading members of Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democrats (CDU) have joined calls for the Economics Minister, Jurgen Mollemann, to resign over allegations that he used his influence to help a company run by his cousin.

Mr Mollemann, a member of the liberal Free Democrats (FDP), acknowledges that letters on official stationery bearing his signature were sent to supermarket chains recommending a security system for shopping trolleys produced by the company. But he says the letters were sent without his knowledge by an aide using blank paper that he had signed for use during his absence.

Mr Mollemann, 47, also came under fire from within the FDP. Hildegard Hamm-Bruecher, a former FDP state secretary in the Foreign Ministry, called for his resignation and said he should abandon his ambition to succeed Otto Lambsdorff as FDP leader.

On Tuesday Mr Mollemann dismissed opposition calls for his resignation.

Johannes Nitsch, a deputy parliamentary leader of the CDU, described the affair in a newspaper interview yesterday as scandalous, and said the minister's explanation was inadequate. 'If Mr Mollemann cannot offer a better explanation very quickly, he must resign,' Mr Nitsch told the Berlin newspaper BZ.

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