• Germany's news in English

President to face TV grilling on loan scandal

The Local · 4 Jan 2012, 10:53

Published: 04 Jan 2012 10:53 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Wulff will face questions from Germany's two main state broadcasters, ARD and ZDF.

"The president will give an interview during the course of the day, which will be aired in the evening," ZDF announced on Twitter.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has remained silent on the latest allegations, is expecting Wulff to offer his own account of the scandal during the interview.

"The chancellor is expecting him to explain himself," her deputy spokesman Georg Streiter said Wednesday.

Wulff has remained conspicuously silent since allegations emerged earlier this week that he threatened two newspaper editors, of Bild and Die Welt, if they ran stories about a personal loan he took out in 2008.

But though he retained support from politicians as he faced initial allegations of impropriety in December, several party leaders began casting doubt on his suitability for the presidential office on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"No-one would wish for the second resignation of a president within two years," Sigmar Gabriel, head of the centre-left Social Democratic Party, wrote on his Facebook page Wednesday. "But no-one would want a president who gives the impression he is not fit for his office, either politically or in his style.”

Green Party co-chair Claudia Roth told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that Wulff would likely be a “very weak president” even if he managed to ride things out and called on him to consider whether he should remain in office.

She also demanded that Chancellor Angela Merkel address the issue publicly.

Merkel said several weeks ago that she supported Wulff, although she has declined to comment on the matter recently, as have other leading members of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union, which Wulff is a member of.

Adding to the pressure was a report that Berlin prosecutors were considering whether to open a criminal investigation into the president, though Wulff retains criminal immunity while in office.

In December, it emerged that Wulff failed to reveal a private €500,000 loan he took out with the wife of a businessman when he was state premier of Lower Saxony in 2008.

Charges later emerged that he had received a preferential rate on a replacement loan with a bank in the state of Baden-Württemberg, and may have helped an event planner friend get government business.

Story continues below…

But the biggest blow may be the charges that emerged this week that he had threatened journalists who exposed the scandal with “war” in a voice mail message.

Although such an outcome would be extremely unlikely, Wulff could be impeached by the Bundestag if the parliament determines he has violated the law.

The Local/AFP/DAPD/mdm/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

13:58 January 4, 2012 by TheCrownPrince
There is not much to explain there, is it? The private loan is one thing, threatening journalists quite another. How can the highest representant of Germany, whose main job is to defend the constitution with the power of his speeches and his integrity, be so unbelievably dumb to threaten Germany's biggest tabloid? And to top it all, how can he be so stupid to leave a message on the mail box? One doesn't know wether to weep or to laugh. The guy is a laughing stock now, nobody will take him seriously anymore. They should carry him out of Bellevue, if it must be, but this man has to go.
14:26 January 4, 2012 by freechoice
this is dragging too long, his body language is telling us he is thinking of calling it quits soon!
17:39 January 4, 2012 by twisted
He can't quit....doesn't he owe the bank €500,000 for his house. Unemployment insurance and Hartz IV doesn't go very far.
19:11 January 4, 2012 by lucksi

Because presidents from other countries can silence the press, why not him?

^actually a very good thing that we still have some things from the constitution which are taken seriously.
23:35 January 4, 2012 by Chigozie Ohanweh
Whats the fuzz alll about, he collected a loan and so what. Please he should be left alone for him to concentrate on his Job.
23:46 January 4, 2012 by danamcmahon
I hope he speaks to consul first.
Today's headlines
Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

10 ways German completely messes up your English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd