• Germany's news in English
 

Gauck 'cannot meet all expectations'

Published: 19 Mar 2012 11:44 GMT+01:00

Gauck told the country in his acceptance speech on Sunday it had not elected "a saviour or a holy man or an angel, but a person from the middle part of the population." He emphasized that he has "rough edges and can't do everything."

Gauck, a former pastor, said he wanted to motivate people to take responsibility - especially people who don't vote. He also wants to stand for freedom and responsibility and said that meant "social responsibility, integration and European solidarity."

He said he had made freedom a key point because in Germany "unlike in the USA or Poland - it is too little respected here." Gauck intends to go to Poland for his first official state visit.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung gave its editorial the headline President Moses and wrote that "even when some think Joachim Gauck is a political Moses, the new president will not transform Germany into a pastor's house."

The paper went on to write that following the disappointing experience of Gauck's predecessors – both of whom resigned – the hope was that Germany "will be disappointed in by an acceptable amount" with the choice of Gauck. The paper noted that Gauck would not be able to fix everything

"With Chancellor [Angela] Merkel and President Gauck there are now two east Germans leading our country, the Leipziger Volkszeitung wrote. "This shows a piece of normalcy on the way toward unity." The paper said it was now up to Gauck to use the "enormous confidence bonus" he received to work as a go-between between politics and society and between east and west."

It is Gauck's job to restore "dignity and appreciation" to the presidential post and for citizens to take up Gauck's invitation to get involved in the process. "When both of these are even only partially achieved, then yesterday really was a beautiful Sunday," the paper wrote referring to how Gauck described the day in his acceptance speech.

Noting that the presidential office is largely a ceremonial post with no political powers, the business daily Handelsblatt said Gauck should use his new job "to teach the powerful about being moral in office and having loyalty to the country." The paper said it was up to Gauck to show the country what it could learn from a president, noting that in her two previous choices for the office, Chancellor Angela Merkel had failed to find someone who was able to lead effectively.

While it is rare that a president is elected with such an "enormous majority," the populist Bild Zeitung wrote, "the single drop of bitterness was the 108 abstentions, that no doubt came from Gauck's own supporting camp.” Although it did not explain why this would be the case, the paper said it did not matter.

“A weakened president? That's all nonsense." The paper noted that it would have been impossible for Gauck to achieve a 99 percent support rate, as was typical in East Germany. "A freely elected president doesn't need that," the paper said.

Bild went on to write that "Gauck is not a consensus president, but one who wants some fresh wind but also some headwind. Therefore he says things that are often forgotten: Freedom is not a matter of course, but requires a lot from everyone." The paper clearly believes the 72-year-old ex-pastor is up to the job.

Germans have high expectations for the new president, wrote the Hamburger Abendblatt, noting that it would be impossible for Gauck to meet them all. Some two-thirds of Germans expect Gauck to stand up for the weaker elements of society, while a similar proportion expects the new president to speak his mind to politicians.

The most important topics for Gauck to embrace are freedom and family, according to 75 percent of Germans, the paper wrote, while 65 percent expect him to fight the financial crisis. What is clear is that "the Germans are hoping for an authority like the president who can do some clear talking. At the same time it's clear that he won't be able to please everyone,” the paper concludes.

The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

11:02 March 20, 2012 by Michel_Berlin
Walking on water is not needed!

I only expect that he now, that he is on top of Germany, doesn't change his ways.

That he keeps on warning the mighty and powerful of becoming to complacent and arrogant....that he keeps on urging the people to take the responsibility of their own lifes and for Germany....and that he keeps on stepping on the toes of the lefties! :)

And doing all that without giving a **** about political correctness!
Today's headlines
Little by little, Germans look beyond cash to buy
Photo: DPA

Little by little, Germans look beyond cash to buy

Tourists and business travellers visiting Germany are often surprised when they reach to pay for their beer, metro tickets or even a large restaurant bill that their credit cards are not welcome. Habits, however, are slowly changing as younger consumers leapfrog from cash to convenient electronic forms of payment. READ  

Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
Martin Sonneborn. Photo: DPA

Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife

After winning a seat in the European Parliament last year on a commitment to 'milking Brussels,' satirical party Die Partei broke new ground. Now a 'Nazi Putsch' threatens to split the party asunder. READ  

Pelicans with wanderlust escape German zoo
These feathered fugitives took flight from the zoo to get a birds-eye view of the world. Photo: DPA.

Pelicans with wanderlust escape German zoo

A pair of pelicans with a serious case of wanderlust flew the coop from Osnabrück Zoo last week, only to find their way back days later. READ  

Fake plastic surgeon sentenced to 4 years
Christian B. sits in court where he was sentenced to four years and three months in prison for falsely presenting himself as a doctor. Photo: DPA.

Fake plastic surgeon sentenced to 4 years

A man who performed cosmetic surgery on more than 50 different patients using fake medical certificates was sentenced to four years and three months in prison on Monday. READ  

Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Photo: DPA

Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue

A doctor from North Rhine-Westphalia will face charges for negligence and bodily harm, authorities said on Tuesday – after accidentally sending a living woman to the morgue. READ  

'Straw hat' robbers leave flowers as calling card
Photo: DPA

'Straw hat' robbers leave flowers as calling card

Brandenburg police are searching for two men who held up a goldsmiths' shop, leaving a pistol at the scene - as well as a bunch of sunflowers. READ  

Small town family disappears without trace
Photo: Winsen and Harburg police.

Small town family disappears without trace

No one has seen husband and wife Sylvia and Marco Schulze or their daughter, 12-year-old Miriam, since Thursday. Helicopters and search dogs have failed to find any trace of the family, leading local media and police to wonder: Where are the Schulzes? READ  

German army takes over Mali mission
Ursula von der Leyen in Mali on Monday. Photo: DPA

German army takes over Mali mission

Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen visited Mali on Tuesday on the day that the Bundeswehr (German army) takes over control of the EU-training mission in the troubled west African state. READ  

Somalia suicide bomber was German: reports
The blast in Mogadishu killed 15 people. Photo: DPA

Somalia suicide bomber was German: reports

Information from security circles in Mogadishu suggests the suicide bomber who blew up a five-star hotel in the Somali capital on Sunday killing 15 people was a dual-national German from Bonn. READ  

Ex-minister: Merkel's Greece policy is 'fatal'
Former German vice-chancellor and foreign minister Joschka Fischer. Photo: DPA.

Ex-minister: Merkel's Greece policy is 'fatal'

Joschka Fischer, former German vice-chancellor and foreign minister between 1998 and 2005, unleashed an uncompromising attack on Chancellor Angela Merkel over her Greek policy in an article published by newpspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung on Monday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Outsourcing drives Apreel's Europe growth
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
Society
In North Germany, money sometimes DOES grow on trees
National
Hero mechanics stop Bavaria shooting spree
International
Denmark says that border controls are coming
National
Did hackers take control of German missile battery?
Politics
Munich gives gay pride green light
Business & Money
Berlin rent controls hit prices hard
National
Fighting to breastfeed in public without shame
Society
Ice cream for dogs 'gobbled up in one gulp'
Education
Are hotpants a feminist issue?
Rhineland
Lion cub reunited with mother
National
How the heatwave is cracking Germany's Autobahns
International
Why the French are more sympathetic to Greece than the Germans
Sponsored Article
Crans-Montana: International expat hub
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
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

7,035
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd