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President 'feels sorry' for ousted predecessor

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Photo: DPA
12:19 CET+01:00
German President Joachim Gauck, who celebrated his first year in office on Monday, has said he felt sorry for his beleaguered predecessor Christian Wulff and his now ex-wife Bettina.

"Very close inspection and scrutiny of politicians of course is part of our political culture," President Gauck told Bild newspaper on Monday. "Still, I was moved by the fate of Christian Wulff and his wife."

Gauck said he had witnessed the young couple move into the Bellevue presidential palace in Berlin, "with all their hopes of what they may be able to achieve politically. When I see today what became of these hopes, I feel sorry for them."

Gauck, an activist pastor who hails from the former communist East Germany, was appointed as President exactly a year ago on March 18th, 2012 in the wake of a corruption scandal which forced predecessor Wulff out of office.

Failing to shake off a string of corruption-related allegations, including that he failed to declare loans while he was state premier of Lower Saxony, Wulff lasted less than two years in office before stepping down in February 2012.

In a final blow, in January this year the Wulffs officially announced they were divorcing, leaving the ex-president without a job or a wife.

The now year-old investigations against Wulff are expected to culminate in prosecutors demanding a fine from the ex-President, according to several media reports over the weekend citing information from judicial circles in Lower Saxony.

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DPA/The Local/jlb

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