‘Shock’ after German parliament leader dies during broadcast recording

‘Shock’ after German parliament leader dies during broadcast recording
Thomas Oppermann, Credit: Olaf Kosinsky/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0 DE)

The sudden and “untimely” death of a leading German politician during a recording of a broadcast television programme has left the country’s political sphere in shock.

Bundestag Vice-president Thomas Oppermann has died at 66 after he fell ill and collapsed while recording a segment with public broadcaster ZDF on Sunday evening.

After his collapse, the federal parliament’s vice-president was rushed to the hospital but did not survive, the broadcaster confirmed on Monday.

Politicians in Germany have reacted with sadness to the news of Oppermann’s passing, with Chancellor Angela Merkel lauding his “outstanding” record and saying she was “shocked and saddened by [his] untimely death.”

“I have valued him for many years as a dependable and fair partner in the grand coalition,” Merkel said in a statement issued on Twitter by the federal government’s spokesperson, referring to the federal ruling coalition between her centre-right CDU party and Oppermann’s social democrat SPD.

“As vice-president of the German Bundestag, he did an outstanding service to our parliament in turbulent times,” she added.

Oppermann had served as Bundestag vice-president since 2017 and had recently announced that, after 30 years of public service, he would not be seeking reelection and would enter retirement.

After launching a career in state politics in 1980, Oppermann entered the national arena as a representative for Göttingen in the federal parliament.

Before rising to the vice-presidency, the veteran parliamentarian also served as the SPD’s leader in the Bundestag from 2013 to 2017.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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