The Latest: Hoax tweet adds to German government tensions
BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on disputes within German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government (all times local):
Some media in Germany have briefly fallen for a hoax tweet announcing that Interior Minister Horst Seehofer had broken up his Bavarian party’s decades-old alliance with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in a dispute over migration.
A Twitter account that resembled a local broadcaster’s said Hesse state governor Volker Bouffier, a senior member of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, had said in an internal email that Seehofer was dissolving the alliance.
Seehofer’s Christian Social Union and Merkel’s CDU campaign together in national elections and have a joint parliamentary group.
Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert, who was at a government news conference at the time of Friday’s tweet, said there were signs that the tweet actually came from a writer at the satirical magazine Titanic.
The Hesse branch of the CDU confirmed it was a hoax.
A spat within the German government over migration has turned to name-calling, with one ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel accusing another of acting like a “bonsai Trump” by threatening to turn some refugees back at the border.
The dispute has raised questions over Merkel’s future, as nationalist forces already in power elsewhere in Europe turn up the heat on the long-serving German chancellor for her welcoming stance toward migrants.
Among Merkel’s sharpest critics is Bavaria’s governor Markus Soeder, whose Christian Social Union is taking an increasingly hard line ahead of state elections this fall even though it forms part of the governing coalition at the national level.
Soeder and his party colleague Horst Seehofer — Germany’s interior minister — want to send police to the border to turn back migrants who have registered as refugees in other European countries. Merkel has warned that such a move could shift the burden onto countries such as Italy and Greece.
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