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Merkel begins search for new president

DPA/The Local · 1 Jun 2010, 09:08

Published: 01 Jun 2010 09:08 GMT+02:00

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Köhler shocked Merkel’s Christian Democrat-led government on Monday by resigning only one year into his second term. The largely ceremonial head of state said he had wrongly faced a barrage of criticism for his comments seemingly linking German military missions abroad and the country’s economic interests.

The chancellor was to meet with Horst Seehofer, head of her conservative Bavarian allies (CSU), and Guido Westerwelle, leader of the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP). According to government sources cited by news agency DPA, the three had planned to discuss health reform, but will now focus on finding Köhler’s replacement.

According to the German constitution, the new president must be installed within the next 30 days by the Federal Convention, which is made up members of the lower house of parliament and officials from Germany’s 16 states.

Although her centre-right alliance likely has enough votes to push through a partisan candidate, Merkel told public broadcaster ARD on Monday evening that her government hoped to find someone “who has a chance to be accepted by everyone.”

Sigmar Gabriel, head of the centre-left opposition Social Democrats (SPD), urged Merkel to discuss potential presidential candidates with all parties in parliament. “It should be somebody not only involved in party politics,” he said. “Otherwise the Social Democrats, possibly together with others in the German Bundestag, will propose an alternative candidate.”

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Several members of Merkel’s Christian Democrats are potential nominees for the highest office in the country, including Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Lower Saxony’s state premier Christian Wulff.

Social Democrats have brought up the name of Gesine Schwan, an academic who ran twice against Köhler for the presidency but lost.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:49 June 1, 2010 by FreiburgandCambridge
Lena for President!!
11:52 June 1, 2010 by Joshontour
Westerwelle for President!!
15:42 June 1, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
Me for President!
15:54 June 1, 2010 by pmach
How about Stefan Raab, after all look what he did for Lena. LOL
19:02 June 1, 2010 by Henckel
Germany needs a leader who can heal Germany's political divisions in the largely ceremonial role of President.
01:22 June 2, 2010 by maxbrando
PLEASE, not Schwan again! She is a socialist idiologue and absolutely no good for Germany.
07:44 June 2, 2010 by ColoSlim
And is German news is so idealistic that they think the military isn't used for economic as well as political gain? Talk about heads up you know where. I think Horst should be applauded for saying what we all know is the truth. If this is not what Germany wants, then keep your military back home on the farm and make Green Peace top generals.
07:49 June 2, 2010 by auniquecorn
Theirs a old man from Texas out of work, with experience.
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