BERLIN — German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht resigned on Monday, after a series of mistakes made her position in Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government untenable.
“I have today asked the chancellor to dismiss me from the cabinet of the Federal Defense Minister,” Lambrecht said in a written statement on Monday. “The media attention on my person for months hardly allows for objective reporting and discussion of the military, the Bundeswehr and security policy decisions in the interest of German citizens,” she added.
Scholz has accepted Lambrecht’s resignation, a spokeswoman for Scholz’s cabinet said at a press conference.
The minister’s repeated blunders put a strain on Scholz and his change in German defense policy announced during his Zeitenwende speech last year. On Friday, various media had unanimously reported on the planned resignation.
Lambrecht failed to implement an increase in military spending promised by Scholz after Russia invaded Ukraine. She had also faced heavy criticism for celebrating an early delivery of 5,000 helmets to Ukraine early last year as ‘a clear signal’ of support, then taking her son on a helicopter flight in personal vacation. A clumsy New Year’s Eve video, where his good wishes were drowned out by the sound of exploding fireworks, helped erode his stature as defense minister.
The news of Lambrecht’s resignation plunges the Scholz government into uncertainty, less than a week before a crucial meeting of Western defense ministers in Ramstein. His successor will be announced soon, but “probably” not on Monday, said the government spokeswoman.
Several names circulate on the German media’s shortlists: the head of the Chancellor’s office Wolfgang Schmidt, the parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces Eva Högl, the Minister of Social Affairs Hubertus Heil, the parliamentary state secretary of Lambrecht Siemtje Möller and the head of the SPD Lars Klingbeil.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Monday on the sidelines of a visit to an arms manufacturer in Ulm that he had a clear idea of Lambrecht’s successor. His idea will be known to everyone “very quickly”, he added. “I know how it should go from my perspective, and we’ll announce it in due course,” Scholz said.
This article has been updated.