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POLITICS

Köhler eyes second term as president

Federal President Horst Köhler will run for a second term, according to reports in the Saturday edition of Bild. He already has a broad base of support from the parties, and the approval of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Köhler eyes second term as president
Photo: DPA

In his regular meetings with party leaders in recent weeks, Köhler has been assured of widespread support for his candidacy, Bild reported on Saturday, citing government and party insiders.

Köhler himself said that he would only seek a second term if he had support from across the political spectrum. Merkel, who heads the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), and Guido Westerwelle, head of the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) already gave Köhler the nod before Easter.

Even the Social Democrats, who supported their own candidate, Gesine Schwan, in the 2004 presidential election, have recently signalled their willingness to keep Köhler in office.

If he is indeed confirmed in office in May 2009, the majority of Germans should be pleased. According to polls, around 75 percent of Germans would welcome the prospect of another five years of Köhler as their largely symbolic head of state.

Köhler has not yet officially confirmed his candidacy – the former head of the International Monetary Fund said he would only do so about a year in advance of the election date of May 23, 2009.

POLITICS

‘A good thing’ for footballers to express values, says France’s PM

France's Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne - speaking in Berlin - said that footballers should be allowed to express their values, amid controversy over FIFA's stance against the 'OneLove' armband on the pitch.

'A good thing' for footballers to express values, says France's PM

“There are rules for what happens on the field but I think it’s a good thing for players to be able to express themselves on the values that we obviously completely share, while respecting the rules of the tournament,” said Borne at a press conference in Berlin on Friday.

Germany’s players made headlines before Wednesday’s shock loss to Japan when the team lined up for their pre-match photo with their hands covering their mouths after FIFA’s threat to sanction players wearing the rainbow-themed armband.

Seven European nations, including Germany, had previously planned for their captains to wear the armband, but backed down over FIFA’s warning.

Following Germany’s action, Wales and the Netherlands have since come out to say they would not mirror the protest.

Borne’s visit to Germany was her first since she was named to her post in May.

Following talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the two leaders signed an agreement for “mutual support” on “guaranteeing their energy supplies”.

Concrete measures outlined in the deal include France sending Germany gas supplies as Berlin seeks to make up for gaping holes in deliveries from Russia.

Germany meanwhile would help France “secure its electricity supplies over winter”, according to the document.

France had since 1981 been a net exporter of electricity to its neighbours because of its nuclear plants. But maintenance issues dogging the plants have left France at risk of power cuts in case of an extremely cold winter.

The two leaders also affirmed their countries’ commitment to backing Ukraine “to the end of” its conflict with invaders Russia.

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