German politician tries to ease dispute over election remark
Steinbrueck calls Napolitano after Italy cancels political meet27 February, 19:43
The call from the Social Democratic candidate for German chancellor to President Giorgio Napolitano came after Italy cancelled an appointment over remarks about the Italian vote.
Meanwhile, Napolitano made some sharp remarks of his own in Munich as part of a State visit to Germany.
"We respect Germany, but we demand respect" in return, said Napolitano.
The incident came after Steinbrueck said Tuesday that he was "horrified by the victory of two clowns" in Italy's elections, referring to centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi and anti-establishment comedian Beppe Grillo.
Napolitano on Wednesday slammed Steinbrueck's "two clowns" statement as "completely misplaced, if not worse," in explaining why he scrapped their meeting.
A spokesperson for Steinbrueck responded to the rebuff on Wednesday saying that the politician showed "understanding for Giorgio Napolitano's decision". Steinbrueck's rival conservative CDU candidate for the chancellory Manfred Kolbe told ANSA: "Peer Steinbrueck is a snob and Napolitano did extremely well to cancel the meeting".