More than three-quarters of Germans want current Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht out, after a series of recent gaffes have called into question her credibility and competence, new polling has found.
A survey conducted by Berlin-based research firm, Civey, commissioned by news outlet t-online, revealed that 77 percent of respondents support the removal of Lambrecht, who has been in her role since December 2021.
Just 13 percent believe the Social Democratic Party (SPD) politician should remain in office, while 10 percent hold no clear view either way.
Lambrecht has been the center of controversy for some time following the infamous announcement that Germany would come to Ukraine’s aid by offering 5,000 protective helmets at a time when Ukraine was calling for tanks and weaponry.
Lambrecht’s offer was described by Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, as a “joke” that left him “speechless.” He asked at the time: “What kind of support will Germany send next, pillows?”
The German defense minister has more recently incurred the wrath of Ukrainian officials and German opposition parties for a bizarre New Year’s Eve video posted on her Instagram account in which she claimed the Ukraine conflict had led to “a lot of special experiences” and the chance for “many encounters with great and interesting people,” all with a backdrop of Berlin’s celebratory fireworks.
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The video was labeled as “inappropriate and embarrassing” by German news outlet Der Spiegel, while the deputy parliamentary leader of the conservative CDU opposition party, Johann Wadephul, called it “disturbing.”
Lambrecht has overseen numerous failures in the German military’s procurement contracts, as well as major malfunctions to military equipment, not least the 18 modernized Puma tanks intended for the NATO Response Force (NRF) that were deemed unfit for action during a recent military drill in December.
Her ill-advised decision to take her 21-year-old son on a trip in a military helicopter is perhaps the icing on the cake.
Despite the litany of failings and the clear dismay among the German public, Lambrecht received Chancellor Olaf Scholz’ vote of confidence on Wednesday. In response to being asked whether Scholz still had faith in his defense minister, the chancellor’s spokesperson replied: “Yes, of course. The chancellor works well with — and trusts — all cabinet colleagues. And of course, that also applies to the minister who was mentioned.”