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Socialists nominate TV cop Sodann for German presidency

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Socialists nominate TV cop Sodann for German presidency
Photo: DPA
16:09 CEST+02:00
Germany's hard-line socialist Left party on Tuesday named Peter Sodann, a former star of television police drama Tatort, as their candidate for the May 2009 presidential election.

Sodann, who played a police Kommissar, or commissioner, in Leipzig on the popular Sunday-night cop show for 16 years, will be running against current President Horst Köhler and the centre-left Social Democrats' candidate Gesine Schwan.

The 72-year-old is “known and loved,” and “would be a president of the people,” the Left party said in a statement. “He is an outstanding actor and director, was a good leader and manager, and is and remains as a political person very interested in societal connections.”

The German presidency is largely ceremonial, and candidates are not elected by the people, but via secret ballot by the Federal Convention, which includes members of parliament and delegates chosen by state legislatures.

Germany has never had a president with show business experience before. In contrast, incumbent President Köhler was head of the International Monetary Fund before he took office.

But Kommissar Sodann isn't likely to become President Sodann anytime soon. Barring any major power shifts at the state level, Köhler, a member of Chancellor Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), is likely to be reelected by a thin majority.

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