Merkel rival comes under fire for women comments
Almost every bank manager in North Rhine-Westphalia earns more than the chancellor,’ Steinbrueck said.German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s challenger for power in next year’s elections stoked controversy yesterday after saying his rival enjoyed a popularity bonus with women and that the job paid too little.
“Angela Merkel is popular because she gets a bonus from women,” the Social Democratic Party’s (SPD) candidate for chancellor, Peer Steinbrueck, said in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung weekly. “A large proportion of female voters appreciate how she has for a long time asserted herself in her party but also, beyond that, in Europe. That is not a disadvantage for me, but an advantage for her,” he said.
Polls show that Merkel’s conservatives enjoy a significant lead over the opposition SPD and the German leader herself remains one of the country’s most popular politicians ahead of elections on Sept. 22. Steinbrueck, whose campaign got off on the wrong foot after it emerged he received some 1.25 million euros in fees for making speeches at private functions, also said German chancellors should earn more. “A German chancellor earns too little, when the demands on him or her are taken into account and when compared to other jobs with fewer responsibilities and much bigger salaries,” Steinbrueck was quoted as saying.
“Almost every bank manager in North Rhine-Westphalia earns more than the chancellor,” he added. A German chancellor earns approximately 17,000 euros per month. The last SPD chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has endorsed Steinbrueck but distanced himself from Steinbrueck’s views on pay. “In my view politicians in Germany are adequately compensated,” Schroeder told Bild am Sonntag newspaper. “I was certainly always able to live off the pay. And anyone who doesn’t feel it’s enough pay can always look for another job.”
Other SPD leaders indirectly criticized Steinbrueck. Dieter Wiefelspuetz, a top SPD member of Parliament, said politicians were misguided if they compared their wages to private industry.
Compiled from AFP and Reuters stories by the Daily News staff.