German official sparks debate by calling for new national anthem

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-10 22:20:19|Editor: xuxin
Video PlayerClose

BERLIN, May 10 (Xinhua) -- The suggestion by German Left party politician Bodo Ramelow that Germany needed a new national anthem has drawn criticism from several political corners, German media reported on Friday.

On Thursday, Ramelow, minister president of Thuringia, sparked a debate by calling for a new German national anthem 30 years after German reunification.

"Many east Germans do not sing along to the anthem and I wish we had a truly common national anthem," Ramelow told the German newspaper Rheinische Post.

Ramelow called for a new text "that is so catchy that everyone can identify with it and say: this is mine."

Saxony-Anhalt's Minister President Reiner Haseloff spoke out against Ramelow's proposal, saying on Thursday that "we should turn our attention to issues where there is an urgent need for action, such as the energy transformation or rental price developments."

"As an east German, I say that the content of the national anthem was a reason to join the Federal Republic," Haseloff said.

Mike Mohring, leader of the conservative CDU party in Thuringia, accused Ramelow of intolerable "political iconoclasm against a symbol of the Federal Republic of Germany."

Saarland's Minister President Tobias Hans (CDU) said that "with his proposal, he weakens the citizens' identification with our state instead of strengthening it."

Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller of the German Social Democrats (SPD) was also critical, telling the German press agency (dpa) that he was "convinced that our national anthem means something to many people."

"It offers identification and perhaps also a home. That is why it is played or sung on special occasions," said Mueller.

Support came from within Ramelow's own party. Andre Blechschmidt, leader of the Left party's parliamentary group, said that a debate about a new anthem was fundamentally "quite sensible."

"A joint new national anthem would have been necessary with a constitutional discussion at the time of reunification in 1990. But it did not take place," Brandenburg's Deputy Minister President Christian Goerke told the German newspaper Bild.

"That is why I like Ramelow's proposal and understand it," Goerke said.

Wolfgang Tiefensee, chairman of the Thuringian Social Democrats, also expressed support for Ramelow's proposal. He told the Thueringer Allgemeine that "I have never really liked the fact that we have a national anthem the first verses of which, with good reason, should no longer be sung."

"Das Lied der Deutschen", which was composed in 1841 by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben, was chosen as Germany's national anthem in 1922.