German SPD leader urges members to continue in coalition government

FILE PHOTO: Andrea Nahles, leader of Social Democratic Party (SPD), leaves after a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel and German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer to decide about the future of Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the BfV domestic intelligence agency at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, September 18, 2018. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) should remain in conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition despite a dispute over the ousting of the country’s domestic intelligence chief, SPD party leader Andrea Nahles wrote in a letter to members.

Nahles said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer’s decision to transfer domestic intelligence chief Hans-Georg Maassen to the interior ministry was a “further burden” for cooperation within the coalition.

But she added in the letter, seen by Reuters: “The SPD shouldn’t sacrifice this government because Horst Seehofer employs a civil servant who we consider to be unsuitable.”

Reporting by Holger Hansen; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Paul Carrel