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Politicians rain on Wulff's farewell torch parade

Published: 08 Mar 2012 12:51 GMT+01:00

Nearly three weeks after resigning, Wulff, 52, will be officially waved off from the largely ceremonial job at a nationally televised evening "Ceremonial Tattoo" in the garden of the president's sumptuous Bellevue Palace.

But media reports say not one of Wulff's predecessors - Walter Scheel, Richard von Weizsaecker, Roman Herzog and Horst Köhler - will attend.

Officials have said that the ceremony will involve music from a military band chosen specifically by Wulff, including numbers such as "Over the Rainbow" from the movie "The Wizard of Oz" and Beethoven's "Ode To Joy", the anthem adopted by the European Union.

Wulff, who for less than two years was Germany's youngest head of state, became embroiled in a quick-fire series of scandals played out in the media, culminating in prosecutors asking parliament to lift his immunity.

Whether the ceremony should go ahead has proven controversial with opposition politicians, who have called on Wulff to forego the tradition due to the circumstances of his departure.

"Somebody who failed in office is having a farewell ceremony as if he did great things for Germany," the head of the Social Democratic Party, Sigmar Gabriel, told the daily Stuttgarter Nachrichten newspaper.

However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who chose Wulff as her candidate for president, and many of her ministers, will be present at the Grosser Zapfenstreich event.

The head of Germany's Turkish community said he would also attend to honour Wulff's moves to reach out to the Muslim community during his time as president when he stated that Islam was part of German life.

"I think it's important that I thank him once again for his work, in the name of the Turkish community and in the name of all Turks in Germany," Kenan Kolat told German radio.

The ceremony, which in its current form dates back to early 19th century

Prussia, is held for departing German presidents, chancellors and defence

ministers or high-ranking military.

Former defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg was also honoured with

the ceremony after resigning last year when his doctorate was rescinded for

plagiarism.

AFP/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

13:14 March 8, 2012 by nemo999
Angela just wants to make sure that he has vacated the official residence, and left the furniture, silverware, and place settings.
15:13 March 8, 2012 by McM
Gratitude is not a word the German press understand once they have finished off a victim. They are still fuming at his audacity to leave a nasty message on their mailbox. As for carrying out his daily duties as the President he seems to have managed quite well. As to his methodology in explaining his tendacy for blatant bargain hunting he has managed to expose the deep hypocrisy within German political culture par excellence. Just for that he deserves a farwell thank you tattoo.

Anyone who serves at the front does.

One of the funniest political assassination I have ever seen.
15:58 March 8, 2012 by freechoice
What is it so honorable able being forced to resigned due to poor public opinions of him? The German press is more powerful than any politicians in Germany? I think it is time for me to switch job!
16:20 March 8, 2012 by twisted
If the man (Wulff) had any real sense of decency, he would forgot the ceremony and all of the perks given to past presidents. He did not fulfill her term of office, being forced out by threat of investigation for things he obviously did or he would have fought them in court. Fine, give him 40% of the pension as he did serve two years of a five year term, but as for letting him depart with honors, I think it is wrong to a) honor him and b) for him to accept the honor. He did bad so he should accept the shame.
18:03 March 8, 2012 by Whipmanager
I mean no disrespect with what I am about to say. I have spent many hours working side by side with my german Army and Air Force colleagues. But the photo above reminds me of times from over 60 years ago. The image is very much like the days that Germany has left behind. I am not saying that the people there are protraying the NAZI image, so much as the image, itself has a certain air to it.

If you took that foto, and with no explanation of what it is or where it came from and showed it to people, and then asked them when they think it was taken, you may very well be surprised by the answers you get.

This story is interesting. to make a dishonored man feel ok about himself, you are spending german Tax payer money on a celebration. A ceremony. That is what is wrong with the world today. Everywhere we are feeding the egos of men, of politicians, instead of being good custodians of the people's money. Give him a certificate, that might cost 100 euros with frame and guilded paper. And let him go out as he should- tail between legs and off of the public scene. Into, if he is lucky, obscurity and out of the public's eye. Will he get a pension for his time as the President? How much and for how long? these are questions that need answering.
23:10 March 8, 2012 by puisoh
He is a plain narcissist. No sense of shame, full sense of entitlement. If you do the checklist on him, he fits 100%.
23:29 March 8, 2012 by Grumpy Old Man
@Whipmanager The ceremony of the Zapfenstreich goes back to the early 18th century (Prussian) times and has absolutely nothing to do with the Nazis. As for your questions: Mr. Wulff had the right to request an "Ehrensold" and made use of that right. He is entitled to € 199.000 per year until he dies. A good comparison is the case of his direct predecessor, Mr. Köhler, who resigned on political motives. He did not request the "Ehrensold". A question of honour, maybe? If my information is wrong, blame the ZDF - I got it from them.
08:00 March 9, 2012 by Nemo2010
Torchlit??? Hmmmm. Harks back to an earlier time when such things whipped up frenzy and a lust for imperialism.
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