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Merkel Under Fire in Legal Threat Over Refugees From Coalition Partners

© AP Photo / Markus SchreiberGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel - Sputnik International
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who heads the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party has come under further fire from the sister party in the grand coalition, the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU), which is threatening legal action over her refugee policy.

Protesters of the far right league We are the border (Wir sind die Grenze) carry a banner reading Today tolerant, tomorrow a stranger in his own country during a demonstration in Freilassing, southern Germany, on January 9, 2016. - Sputnik International
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Merkel has come under intense pressure over the refugee crisis from her CSU counterpart in Bavaria, Horst Seehofer, who presides over the southern state that has borne the brunt of the refugee exodus through the West Balkan route. The state capital, Munich and its local administrations have struggled to deal with the thousands of migrants arriving in the state each day.

At the annual congress of his CSU party Seehofer made the German leader look like "a schoolgirl," according to local media. In a 13-minute tirade, he lambasted Merkel over the handling of the refugee crisis, demanding she set a limit on the number of asylum-seekers the country would accept.

Seehofer has called for a maximum limit of 200,000 refugees to be accepted in 2016.

"From our past experience I can say Germany has no problem with an influx of 100,000 or at most 200,000 asylum seekers and refugees fleeing war. This number is manageable and also allows for integration. Anything more than that I think is too much," he said.

However, Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said:

"This is not the chancellor's position. We do not believe that a limit on refugee numbers can be achieved by one country acting alone."

Merkel has long quoted the German constitution as saying the country had a duty to give residence to genuine refugees.

Legal Challenge

In January, Seehofer said he would send Merkel a written request to restore "orderly conditions" at the nation's borders, through which over a million migrants and refugees passed in 2015. "If it doesn't follow, the state government will have no other choice but to file a suit at the Federal Constitutional Court," Seehofer told Der Spiegel magazine.

© REUTERS / Michael DalderBavarian Prime Minister and head of the Christian Social Union (CSU) Horst Seehofer welcomes German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the Christian Social Union (CSU) party congress in Munich, Germany in this November 20, 2015.
Bavarian Prime Minister and head of the Christian Social Union (CSU) Horst Seehofer welcomes German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the Christian Social Union (CSU) party congress in Munich, Germany in this November 20, 2015. - Sputnik International
Bavarian Prime Minister and head of the Christian Social Union (CSU) Horst Seehofer welcomes German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the Christian Social Union (CSU) party congress in Munich, Germany in this November 20, 2015.

Since then, there has been no action, but CSU senior lawmaker Peter Ramsauer has now told Seehofer to quickly submit the threatened action against the refugee policy of the Federal Government to the Federal Constitutional Court.

"You cannot on one hand complain about the rule of injustice and at the same time do nothing about it. Karlsruhe [where the Constitutional Court sits] has now as soon as possible to clarify whether the refugee policy of the Chancellor is consistent with our Constitution or not. This has to fight you now. Bavaria and the CSU must act now, otherwise one makes implausible," he told the Passauer Neue Presse Thursday.

Bavarian Prime Minister and head of the Christian Social Union (CSU) Horst Seehofer - Sputnik International
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Meanwhile, Merkel has come to blows with her CDU/CSU coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) led by Sigmar Gabriel.

He rebuked her for trying to set up transit camps for refugees that he said were akin to concentration camps. He also berated her for the slow response of the federal government to the sheer volume of refugees entering Germany.

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