Merkel: German government won't collapse over spy chief

Merkel: German government won't collapse over spy chief
German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a joint statement with Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite at the President's palace in Vilnius, Lithuania, Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel says a dispute over the future of Germany’s domestic intelligence chief won’t bring down her coalition government.

Merkel’s conservatives run Germany in a coalition with the center-left Social Democrats, who on Thursday demanded the removal of domestic spy chief Hans-Georg Maassen over much-criticized comments about recent far-right protests in the eastern city of Chemnitz. Coalition leaders have deferred a decision on Maassen’s future until Tuesday.

Merkel said during a visit to Lithuania Friday: “As important as the position of the president (of the BfV intelligence agency) is, it is also clear that the coalition is not going to break up over the question of the president of a subordinate agency.”

The argument follows anti-migrant protests in Chemnitz after the killing late last month of a German man.