Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected calls for the reintroduction of military conscription in response to an investigation of an alleged far-right plot by two soldiers to assassinate prominent political figures.
Merkel's government ended conscription in 2011. A prominent lawmaker in the chancellor's conservative party, Patrick Sensburg, has argued that conscription should be introduced because citizens in uniform are "a reliable early-warning system to recognize extremism of the left and right."
Merkel said Thursday Germany made a fundamental decision on conscription, "and we should conduct necessary reforms in continuity with this decision." She added that "what the Bundeswehr needs is predictability."
German military has been hit by the escalating conflict after a recent terror scandal, as the German government opens a terror probe to investigate the growing far-right extremism in its armed forces. The German government started investigating the extent of far-right activity in its armed forces after an officer was arrested two weeks ago on suspicion of planning a racist attack against migrants.
The bizarre case of a racist soldier allegedly plotting an attack while posing as a Syrian refugee and several abuse scandals have sparked a war of words between Germany's defense minister and the military. It is a dangerous political battle for Ursula von der Leyen, the first woman in charge of the Bundeswehr, who is often mentioned as a potential successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Von der Leyen has come under fire for her s handling of the case, with some saying her harsh tone towards the armed forces implied most soldiers were right-wing radicals.
Von der Leyen has apologized for her blanket criticism of the military, saying she regretted remarks that military leaders were weak and unable to deal with problems like sexual harassment claims and right-wing extremism. The scandal has also raised questions about the competence of staff at shelters where migrants first register before they can apply for asylum.
German police detained a third soldier suspected of involvement in a plan by an army officer and a student to carry out an attack, possibly on left-wing politicians who don't oppose immigration, the federal public prosecutor said on Tuesday. The prosecutor's office named the third suspect in the case, which has shocked the country and prompted a debate about the depth of right-wing radicalism in the military, as Maximilian T., a 27-year-old German national. The three had planned to carry out an attack and make it look like it had been the work of Islamist militants, it said. Former president Joachim Gauck and Justice Minister Heiko Maas were on a list of possible targets prepared by the suspects. The first soldier and the student, named Franco A. and Mathias F. respectively, were detained on April 26.
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