Opposition spokesman steps down

June 28, 1996

The German Social Democrats' parliamentary education spokesman is standing down as a member of the Bundestag after months of disagreement with his party on education policy issues.

Peter Glotz said his reasons for going were personal. He wants to concentrate on writing. But his announcement comes after criticism from his party that he was more the political twin of education minister Jurgen Ruttgers than his opponent. Earlier this year the head of the SPD youth organisation called for Glotz's resignation after he backed universities being able to levy student fees - a hugely controversial issue in Germany which the SPD party rejects.

Mr Glotz also wants universities to have more autonomy in selecting their students. Political commentators claim Mr Glotz was hoping for a bigger role in the party leadership after Rudolf Scharping was replaced as party leader by Oskar Lafontaine.

But "diva Lafontaine did not want to offer diva Mr Glotz new chances", said Die Welt newspaper. And last week the party leader reiterated that fees remained strictly off the SPD political agenda. Mr Glotz, a professor of communication, became deputy rector of Munich University at the age of 30. Seven years later he was made undersecretary at the education and science ministry in Bonn. In 1981, Willy Brandt made him SPD party manager.

Although he leaves the Bundestag in the summer, he will remain in the party presidium and is likely to remain vociferous on education and other issues.

He is a prolific writer on issues ranging from the Bosnian war to travel. He recently published Rotten to the Core? - five minutes to midnight at Germany's universities, a book in which he claimed only new forms of financing would give universities a serious chance for survival.

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