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President in crisis as poll numbers tank

The Local · 5 Jan 2012, 17:30

Published: 05 Jan 2012 17:30 GMT+01:00

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The 52-year-old’s latest controversial move was to demand that the Bild newspaper not release a voicemail message in which he reportedly threatened the paper's editor about an exposé on him in December.

“The words spoken in an exceptionally emotional situation were exclusively for you and no-one else,” Wulff wrote to Bild’s editor-in-chief Kai Diekmann on Thursday.

Although it’s unclear whether Bild can legally release the recording without the president’s consent, it asked for it anyway, calling on Wulff to be “transparent.”

Though the majority of Germans initially supported Wulff to remain in his largely ceremonial position, it appears the spiralling scandal has done serious damage to his popularity.

Only 47 percent believe Wulff should remain in office, according to a poll by the ARD television network. That’s compared to 63 percent on Monday.

Wulff has been an object of controversy since last month when it emerged that he had failed to inform state parliamentarians in Lower Saxony about a private €500,000 loan he took out when he was the state premier in 2008.

Since then, a range of finance-related accusations have surfaced, including that he received preferential financing from a bank.

His interview Wednesday night was an attempt to answer the media accusations, but on Thursday editorialists unanimously condemned the appearance as a failure.

Under the headline "A Wasted Chance", Bild wrote that Wulff's appearance had not saved him.

He "wasted a further, possibly last chance to continue his time in office with dignity," it said.

The daily Süddeutsche Zeitung quipped that while one of the president's constitutional roles was to grant pardons, Wulff was the first president to pardon himself.

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Asking how he could restore the gravitas of the position, it said, "Wulff apparently trusts that he can do that himself. He stands rather alone in this confidence."

The head of the Pirate Party in Berlin’s state parliament Andreas Baum – who has gained an increasingly influential voice in national politics – was the latest politician to express doubts about Wulff’s ability to stay on, calling his position “untenable” Thursday.

The Local/AFP/DAPD/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

21:16 January 5, 2012 by ovalle3.14
Wealthy politician takes a few curious turns down the road. Gets discovered. Gets angry at those who exposed him. Happens everywhere. I think what would make a difference is to see until what point such a situation is tolerated by the German authorities.
22:55 January 5, 2012 by puisoh
If he wants to save his remaining grace, he should step down now ... BILD will surely expose the taped threat once they get legal clearance, it is their job and their chance, they are apprently cleverer than the President ... well, they have to think alot everyday, the President doesn't ...

What's the point in staying in a position when people don't want you anymore and 200K a year isn't bad money for doing nothing.
23:13 January 5, 2012 by JDee
I don't have any particular affinity for this guy, but it was predicted to me before this 'scandal' blew up in the media that he would be removed because of this,


At the end of the day a lot of the media is state manipulated and they could have pulled strings and had this story buried long ago, but they obviously don't want that.

Ironically he might have actually tried to do somthing honourable, which rubs against the image we are getting, but rescuing the EU project is far more important than Wulff or German law.
01:19 January 6, 2012 by Wim van Couveren
OTA-Berlin Constituency Blog poll presently has Wulff red card at 69% and yellow card at 31%. - http://www.ota-berlin.de/blog/01/05/vote-for-a-yellow-card-or-a-red-card-should-german-president-wulff-go-or-stay-vote-in-ota-berlin-constituency-blog-poll-by-contributor-mr-emil-hoogensteyn/
12:27 January 6, 2012 by trevzns
President Wulff is a victim of his lack of transparency and poor judgment, when he decided to telephone the Bilds editor-in-chief.

He has apologized. Whether he stays or goes depends on the tolerance level of the German people and what they expect from their political leaders, behavior and governance.
23:03 January 12, 2012 by mos101392
I agree that as an elected official, you must assume you are held at a higher standard. However, can it be possible that he has friends too? Are only the banks allowed to give loans? I have given friends loans that had financial difficulties and the banks would not help. The banks are more willing to bury an individual but have no problem bailing out 100 billion euro loans to countries.

This sounds to me to be more of a political killing than anything else.If I were an investigator, I would look at who has most to gain from his departure.

Hold up your shoe if you receive German welfare! lol You see, they have nothing better to do with their time.

I would really like to know the ratio of those demonstrating that are receiving welfare.

BTY- I am only an American observing the German news, I do not profit from either side and only providing alternative views. I can say I would insure I am squeaky clean before I enter German politics and would not fart against the wind! :O)
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