Merkel Party Mulls Bringing Back Draft to Heal Social Divisions

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BERLIN (AP) – Seven years after Germany scrapped military conscription, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party is debating the merits of reintroducing some kind of civilian or military national service for young people.

Germany dropped the draft in 2011, one of many tenets of conservative orthodoxy brushed aside under Merkel. The new general-secretary of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, has been touring Germany to discuss future policies.

She said over the weekend she doesn’t expect a return to conscription but wants to discuss a vaguely defined “general service obligation.” She left open whether it should be compulsory.

The idea has drawn a mixed response. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, the ex-defence minister who scrapped conscription, told Monday’s Bild daily that it would be costly and the constitution “doesn’t foresee such compulsory, or forced, work assignments.”

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