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Leader of Green Party in Germany regrets 1980s 'paedophile pamphlet'

The party supported the legalisation of sexual acts between children and adults.

Jeurgen Trittin.
Jeurgen Trittin.
Image: AP Photo/Martin Meissner

A LEADER OF Germany’s Green Party today admitted “mistakes” over the party’s past support for paedophile groups calling for sex with children to be legal, in a serious blow ahead of general elections.

Fresh from a stinging regional poll result, Juergen Trittin, a former environment minister, voiced regret in a national newspaper for a 1981 local election manifesto advocating the conditional legalisation, which he had jointly signed.

Trittin was one of five people who signed off on the manifesto for local elections in the northern town of Goettingen, two political scientists said in today’s Tageszeitung newspaper.

Trittin said that not only the Greens, in their early days, had been subject to pressure from lobbyists on the issue, but that this had been more pronounced at the local branch, which, he said, had not reacted forcefully enough.

“We didn’t even scrutinise it when we compiled our programme for the local elections in 1981,” he said, acknowledging that researchers’ findings were “correct”.

This is also my responsibility. And these are also my mistakes, which I regret.

The election pamphlet for the university town called for sexual acts between children and adults without the use or threat of violence to be legalised, the researchers said.

Election

The ecologist party has slumped in polls ahead of the vote on 22 September after having their anti-nuclear policy trump card snatched away by conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel and facing ridicule over a call for a weekly “Veggie Day” in work canteens.

In the wealthy southern state of Bavaria Sunday, the party scored under nine per cent in an election.

“It’ll be fascinating (to see) whether the latest paedophile accusations affect support for the Greens,” commented news website Spiegel Online.

Trittin, one of two top Greens’ candidates for Merkel’s job, announced in May that independent researchers would shed light on the influence a pro-paedophilia group had within the party in 1980s.

He referred, at the time, in particular to a 1985 decision at a regional party conference when delegates argued in favour of violence-free sex acts between adults and children to be exempt from punishment.

Trittin came under pressure from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.

“Mr Trittin is really to consider whether he is the right person for this leadership task for the Greens,” Philipp Missfelder of the ruling Christian Democratic Union was quoted by national DPA news agency as saying.

Alexander Dobrindt, general secretary of its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, fresh from a triumph at the Bavarian ballot box, told Focus online:

Trittin must drop being candidate for chancellor.

Trittin’s co-candidate for chancellor Katrin Goering-Eckardt defended him today, saying on ZDF public television that he had not been aware at the time he was responsible for the publication of a manifesto.

The Greens’ opposition to paedophilia is now “crystal clear”, she added, while party head Cem Ozdemir was quoted by DPA as saying the findings showed the party had taken the right step in designating the researchers.

- © AFP, 2013

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