German politics in a fluster over sexist remarks

A woman journalist’s allegations that a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition made sexist comments about her cleavage in a bar one year ago have stirred a debate about the relationship between reporters and politicians in Germany.

Rainer Bruederle, the 67-year-old parliamentary leader of the Free Democrats (FDP), junior partners in the coalition, was reported by Stern magazine this week to have told one of its reporters she could “really fill a dirndl” - the low-cut Bavarian traditional dress.

Bruederle has not made any public comment about the report and his office declined to react to it on Friday.But FDP leaders have questioned the magazine’s motives for reporting the year-old events days after Bruederle was put in charge of its campaign for a national election in September.

Stern's story about the events in a bar in Stuttgart during an FDP congress last January have made the silver-haired former economy minister the butt of ridicule in some German media while other publications, and some politicians, have defended him.Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, a former FDP leader, said it was “deeply unfair” to carry the story a year after the alleged events.

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