Alliance 90/The Greens party leader Anne Spiegel attends a news conference on the results of the coalition talks for Rhineland-Palatinate, in Mainz, Germany April 30, 2021. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo | KAI PFAFFENBACH

Germany's Anne Spiegel said today she had decided to step down as Family Minister after controversy over her decision to go on vacation last year just after devastating floods in the state where she was then serving as a senior official.

Spiegel, a member of the Greens, is the first minister to quit Chancellor Olaf Scholz's federal government, which comprises his Social Democrats (SPD), the environmentalist party, and the liberal Free Democrats (FDP).

"Today, due to political pressure, I have decided to stand down from the office of Federal Minister for Family Affairs," Spiegel said in a statement. "I am doing this to avert damage to the office, which is facing major political challenges."

Spiegel had apologised on Sunday for taking a four-week family holiday shortly after the flood disaster in 2021. At the time, she was state environment minister in the region of Rhineland-Palatinate, which took the brunt of Germany's most lethal floods in six decades that killed more than 170 people. Spiegel's decision to step down came ahead of regional elections next month in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state, which was also hit hard by the floods.

Last week, the environment minister for North Rhine-Westphalia also quit after revelations she had spent much of the time after the flood in Mallorca. Spiegel's decision to quit her post in the federal government came despite Scholz backing her. Greens party co-leader Omid Nouripour told journalists Spiegel's decision was right.