• Germany's news in English
 

President Wulff clings on

Published: 04 Jan 2012 19:13 GMT+01:00

"I am pleased to assume my responsibilities (as president), I took them on for a five-year term," Wulff said in a televised interview amid a growing chorus of calls for his resignation.

He added that he hoped by the end of the term in 2015 "to have a record showing I was a good and successful president."

Wulff, 52, landed in hot water last month when the powerful daily Bild reported that he had concealed a home loan at an advantageous interest rate he accepted from the wife of a tycoon friend while premier of Lower Saxony state.

When opposition state deputies asked him whether he had business ties to the tycoon or any firms connected with him, Wulff had kept quiet.

This week it emerged that Wulff had called Bild's editor-in-chief Kai Diekmann one day before the story's publication and left a blistering voicemail message threatening him with "war" if he went ahead with the report.

Meanwhile another publication, Welt am Sonntag, said one of its reporters had been summoned to the presidential palace for a dressing-down over another article about Wulff's strained relationship with his half-sister.

Wulff said in the interview Wednesday that the call to Diekmann had been a "serious mistake" that was "unworthy" of a president and for which he had already apologised.

On the loan, Wulff insisted it had been a private arrangement with a friend rather than a business deal.

"I would not like to be president of a country in which you can no longer borrow money from a friend," he said.

Wulff said he would not resign as he had received strong support from Germans in recent weeks calling on him to stay in office.

A spokesman for Merkel, Georg Streiter, said earlier Wednesday she was sure that Wulff would offer a full explanation of the affairs, as political pressure mounted on both of them.

"The chancellor is absolutely confident that the president will continue to answer all open questions completely," Streiter told a regular government press briefing. "She has enormous respect for the work of the president."

The media uproar is an unwelcome political distraction for Merkel as she grapples with the eurozone debt crisis at the start of what is expected to be a turbulent year, and a replacement for Wulff would be tough to find.

AFP/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

21:30 January 4, 2012 by Kendodad
I just finished watching the interview and think he did a great job.

Is he completely clean? No.

Should he have clarified, when asked if he had ties to the tycoon, that he borrowed money from his wife? Probably. But I think it's like he said in the interview: he was trying to separate his private life from his public office. And hindsight is always 20/20.

But let me ask a question myself: are the media clean here? Was the Bild clean? Most definitely not (that rag never is). Bettina Schausten's comment about paying friends when she stays over was just plain stupid. Why did she make that mistake? Because Wulff was smart enough to wait and let the journalists hungry. Hungry for him and his explanation. She was hungry and went after him not like a pro, calm and collected, but like someone blinded by the need to get to the story and to get there first.

The media hype of the last few days provided him (and the networks) free publicity (and probably excellent ratings) in a credible forum that allowed him to be a statesman. Brilliant.

By the by: The headline is a little sensationalist: I think he is more than just clinging.

And the phrase "Wulff had kept quiet" is also not entirely accurate: He omitted a related fact that applied not to his office, but to his private life.
07:41 January 5, 2012 by starsh3ro
i feel ashamed to be a german when i see how liars like this can stay in our government.

like a little kid hes now trying to play the victim.

sure he doesnt want to resign, he needs the money!
11:06 January 5, 2012 by redsquirrel
This is not his 'private life', it's a huge loan from a business acquaintance that he did his very best to keep hidden. If he really needs to keep the money he should return to private life and not be in a position where he can influence the distribution of taxpayers money to his 'friends'.
23:05 January 12, 2012 by mos101392
I agree that as an elected official, you must assume you are held at a higher standard. However, can it be possible that he has friends too? Are only the banks allowed to give loans? I have given friends loans that had financial difficulties and the banks would not help. The banks are more willing to bury an individual but have no problem bailing out 100 billion euro loans to countries.

This sounds to me to be more of a political killing than anything else.If I were an investigator, I would look at who has most to gain from his departure.

Hold up your shoe if you receive German welfare! lol You see, they have nothing better to do with their time.

I would really like to know the ratio of those demonstrating that are receiving welfare.

BTY- I am only an American observing the German news, I do not profit from either side and only providing alternative views. I can say I would insure I am squeaky clean before I enter German politics and would not fart against the wind! :O)
Today's headlines
Extreme heat causes Autobahn to rupture
A fissure on the Autobahn near Heidelberg. Photo: DPA

Extreme heat causes Autobahn to rupture

The heatwave sweeping across the country may have Germans flocking to the sea this weekend, but the extreme temperatures are also causing Autobahns to break apart. READ  

Nazi island resort to be turned into luxury flats
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Nazi island resort to be turned into luxury flats

A vast Nazi mega-complex meant as holiday homes for German workers and later used by the Soviets as a Cold War barracks is about to be turned into luxury flats. READ  

Greece crisis
'Bundestag must vote on new bailout': Schäuble
A poster of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble in Athens reads "For five years he has sucked your blood. Now tell him NO." Photo: DPA

'Bundestag must vote on new bailout': Schäuble

UPDATE: Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said on Friday that there would be no quick release of bailout funds to Greece after the country's referendum on whether to accept its creditors' terms on Sunday. READ  

Activists give Dalai Lama 80th birthday stamp
The new Deutsche Post stamp showing the Dalai Lama. Photo: DPA

Activists give Dalai Lama 80th birthday stamp

Pro-Tibet activists have created a new limited-edition stamp featuring the Dalai Lama to mark the Tibetan spiritual leader's 80th birthday. READ  

Women's World Cup
'Germany will crack England': top coach
Star striker Celia Sasic. Photo: DPA

'Germany will crack England': top coach

The manager of European champions FFC Frankfurt told The Local he expects Germany to beat England in the third place play-off in the Women's World Cup, and predicted his protege Celia Sasic will grab a goal or two. READ  

NSA surveillance scandal
Calls grow for govt to act on NSA spying
Chancellor Angela Merkel, the highest-profile German victim of NSA spying, speaking on the phone. Photo: DPA

Calls grow for govt to act on NSA spying

Green Party security expert Konstantin von Notz told The Local on Friday that Chancellor Angela Merkel is failing to restore faith in the German-US partnership following fresh spying revelations. READ  

Germany reach semis of beach volleyball worlds
Ilka Semmler and Katrin Holtwick. Photo: DPA file

Germany reach semis of beach volleyball worlds

Germany's top beach volleyball pair are storming the world championships in Holland and prepare to face Brazil in the semis on Friday. READ  

Environment minister blasts Merkel, colleagues
Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks. Photo: DPA

Environment minister blasts Merkel, colleagues

Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks loosed a broadside against her cabinet colleagues on Friday in a guest article for Die Welt, saying that they had decided to do too little to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in a way that would cost too much. READ  

Greece crisis
BILD polls readers in own 'Greece referendum'
Image: BILD/screenshot

BILD polls readers in own 'Greece referendum'

Tabloid Bild continued its campaign against bailouts for Greece on Friday by calling its own "referendum", asking readers to fill out a poll on whether Germany should keep stumping up. German politicians were divided on how the Greek vote would affect Europe. READ  

Police confiscate WW2 tank hidden in cellar
The Panther tank removed from a cellar in Kiel, with a prosecutors' evidence label attached to its barrel. Photo: DPA

Police confiscate WW2 tank hidden in cellar

Police searched a villa in a wealthy suburb of Kiel on Wednesday and found a Second World War tank, a torpedo and other weaponry in the cellar. On Thursday they were still working on removing the tank. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
National
How do you do, Majestät?
National
Man defends right to pee in public with tear gas
Features
The Germans who won Waterloo for the British
Frankfurt
Should Germany ban circus animals?
Hamburg
Where people are having the most sex in Germany
Culture
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Not this student...
National
Dresden's three-decade-long red light
Politics
Upper house calls for gay marriage now
Berlin
Berlin named 3rd-best city worldwide
Sport
In search of the toughest firefighter
Business & Money
German firms shine for European engineering students
Gallery
Hitler's paintings up for auction
National
German's 70-year search for murdered US pilot
Politics
What the G7 leaders agreed at Elmau
Business & Money
What really makes Germans happy
National
Playmobil builder leaves worldwide legacy
National
The car share that became a drug run
Politics
What Snowden revealed to Germany
Rhineland
Why wolf cubs are being raised by hand
National
Hitler's booze cave found
National
Environment makes Germany worth living in
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,940
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd