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Voters favour Gauck for president

The Local · 9 Jun 2010, 10:17

Published: 09 Jun 2010 10:17 GMT+02:00

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If Germans were able to elect their ceremonial head of state directly, 42 percent would pick former East German dissident Gauck, compared with 32 percent for Lower Saxony premier Wulff, who as the government’s choice is considered the frontrunner.

The poll of 1,000 voters was taken on Monday by the surveying firm the Forsa institute for Stern magazine.

But Germany's new president will be chosen by the Federal Assembly, which is made up of the lower house of parliament and representatives from Germany’s 16 states, on June 30. The race was sparked by the abrupt resignation last week of Horst Köhler as the country's head of state.

A comparison with an earlier poll suggests that Gauck’s support is strengthening. A survey taken last Friday by the firm Emnid had Wullf in the lead on 41 percent against Gauck’s 32 percent.

Neither poll, however, takes into account the addition of the socialist Left’s party’s candidate, former television journalist and now MP Lukrezia Jochimsen, who entered the race on Tuesday.

Gauck won the backing of 58 percent of centre-left Social Democrats voters and 75 percent of environmentalist Greens voters – the two parties who have put him up as their candidate.

Story continues below…

Wulff, meanwhile, had 61 percent support among conservative CDU-CSU voters and 42 percent of pro-business Free Democrats voters. Some 24 percent of FDP voters, however, supported Gauck.

Although Wulff remains the favourite, some government politicians, particularly from the FDP, have publicly come out in support of Gauck.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:06 June 9, 2010 by auniquecorn
I like this headline,

(Voters favour Gauck for president), And then the first sentence of the story (If Germans were able to elect their ceremonial head of state)

And this one ( Wulff, who as the government¦#39;s choice is considered the frontrunner.)
13:00 June 9, 2010 by twisted
So the headline should really read "Non-Voters.........."
16:07 June 9, 2010 by pmach
They must be referring to the ELITE Executive board that chooses it President prior to public input which doesn't matter anyway. It all just really sucks gauck.
17:21 June 9, 2010 by vonSchwerin
"Neither poll, however, takes into account the addition of the socialist Left¦#39;s party¦#39;s candidate, former television journalist and now MP Lukrezia Jochimsen, who entered the race on Tuesday."

It would be interested to see some data on how her entry into the race affects things.

On the one hand, she might split the left-of-center vote and hurt Gauck.

On the the other hand, maybe voters who vote for a Linke/PDS candidate would never vote for the man who headed the Gauckbehoerde!
17:59 June 9, 2010 by Henckel
Actually, there are some similarities between the German and American systems. While American presidents are nominally elected by popular vote, in each state the largest vote-winner receives the votes of his party's delegates to the Electoral College, who then cast their votes for him in a session similar to that of the German National Assembly. So the American president isn't really chosen by direct vote either; it's possible to win in the overall popular vote and still lose in the vote of the Electoral College.
19:49 June 9, 2010 by vonSchwerin
Henkel, that same thought occurred to me, too.

If Gauck loses the actual presidential election on June 30 (despite being significantly more popular than Wulff), I want never again to hear a German complain about the Bush/Gore election in 2000.
16:56 June 11, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
Well, the difference is, the outcome of Bush/Gore was relevant. Who ends up being the Federal President is largely irrelevant. Here's a list of what he/she does:

1) Acts as an interested third party to national conflict and gives opinion of his conscience.

2) Rubberstamps ministerial and judicial appointments.

3) Dissolves the Bundestag if government deadlocks.

4) Rubberstamps laws.

5) Receives foreign diplomats and rubberstamps them.

6) Grants pardons and decorations.

7) Can declare legislative state of emergency if parliament should fail to elect a Chancellor (has never happened).

I believe he/she is also somewhere in the chain of legal trigger pulls to bring the Federal Republic into a state of war if the entire Bundestag and a few others go up in a mushroom cloud, but I am not sure about that right now.

Now, conversely, the person that won Bush/Gore can take the entire free world to war by virtue of alliance. So, huge, huge difference of significance here.
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