Germany’s interior ministry is naming a long-time civil servant to head the country’s domestic intelligence agency.
In a statement, the ministry confirmed reports that Thomas Haldenwang would replace outgoing spy chief Hans-Georg Maassen.
The center-left Social Democrats, part of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition, had demanded Maassen’s removal from the BfV spy agency in September after he appeared to downplay far-right violence against migrants in the eastern city of Chemnitz.
Haldenwang joined the interior ministry in 1991, moving to the BfV domestic intelligence agency in 2009. Four years later he became Maassen’s deputy.
The news comes amid reports that Germany’s top security official Horst Seehofer, who frequently clashed with Chancellor Angela Merkel on her migrant policy and other issues, is planning to quit his post. Seehofer, the interior minister, is also expected to relinquish his role as leader of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian-only sister party to Merkel’s Christian Democrats
Seehofer had backed Maassen, putting him at odds with Merkel and other Cabinet ministers.