Socialist presidential candidate says Germany isn’t a democracy

Peter Sodann, former TV cop and presidential candidate for the hard-line socialist Left party, has come under fire for his comments labelling Germany undemocratic.

Socialist presidential candidate says Germany isn’t a democracy
Photo: DPA

In an interview published in the Thursday edition of the regional daily Sächsische Zeitung, Sodann said he didn’t like “our current way of life. I don’t think what we have is a democracy.”

The 72-year-old actor, who lived in communist East Germany and had run-ins with the Stasi, was picked this week by the Left party to run against incumbent German President Horst Köhler.

Sodann, who played a police commissioner on the popular TV series Tatort also said he would like to arrest Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann. “Then they’d toss me out, but at least I’d have done it,” he told the paper.

As Germany’s ceremonial head of state he’d also dump the country’s current national anthem in favour of Bertolt Brecht’s Kinderhymne.

Guido Westerwelle, the head of the pro-market Free Democrats (FDP), on Friday slammed Sodann in the Cologne daily Express for calling Germany undemocratic, saying that sort of rhetoric was normally only used by the neo-Nazi NPD party.

Hendrik Wüst, secretary general of the Christian Democrats in North Rhine-Westphalia, told the same paper Sodann was “an unworthy candidate for the nation’s highest office.”

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.

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, is likely to be reelected by a thin majority.