Waigel calls for cabinet clear-out
In a series of newspaper interviews over the weekend, Theo Waigel, the Finance Minister, had urged his boss to clear the dead wood out of his cabinet before embarking on next year's general election campaign. Mr Waigel, leader of the Christian Social Union of Bavaria, also made a bid for one of the cabinet seats currently controlled by the Free Democrats, the smallest of the three parties which make up Mr Kohl's government.
Through his spokesman in Bonn, the Chancellor let it be known that such discussions about a reshuffle were "superfluous".
But that put-down may not be enough to thwart another round of bickering among the coalition partners.
In a startlingly frank interview with the magazine Der Spiegel, Mr Waigel suggested that some of his cabinet colleagues were merely serving time. These, he advised, should be booted out. "If there is a minister or two wanting to quit but would still like to hang on for another year until the elections," Mr Waigel said, "then one should tell him: `Comrade, it would have been nice, but we must build our new team now'."
Though the Finance Minister refused to name any of the tired faces he had in mind, there is little doubt that Gunter Rexrodt, the Economy Minister, would be on top of such list. Mr Rexrodt does not even enjoy the confidence of his own party, the Free Democrats, and is believed to have flirted in the past with the idea of leaving the government.
The Economy Minister's departure would seem to fit in well with Mr Waigel's game plan, namely to swap portfolios with the FDP. Klaus Kinkel, the Free Democrat Foreign Minister, would thus take over the hot potato of Finance, allowing Mr Waigel to fulfil his cherished ambition of straddling the world stage.
This could only happen, however, if the FDP were eased out of the Economics Ministry. Mr Waigel also noted that one minister from his party, Wolfgang Botsch, will drop out of the government when his fiefdom, the post office, is privatised later this year.
The CSU, he said, will have to be given something else, otherwise it will only have the same number of government seats - three - as the Free Democrat minnows.
Anonymity order lifted for triple child killer David McGreavy jailed in 1973
World news in pictures
Far-right French historian, 78-year-old Dominique Venner, commits suicide in Notre Dame in protest against gay marriage
Plenty of Fish dating site founder pulls 'Intimate Encounters' option to ward off sleazy men
Video emerges of Pope Francis reportedly performing an exorcism in St Peter’s Square
- 1 Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
- 2 After woman sells virginity for $780,000, here are the results of our prostitution survey
- 3 China agrees to impose carbon targets by 2016
- 4 Exclusive: Championship clubs set to push for safe-standing trials
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.