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Merkel backs embattled President Wulff

The Local · 6 Jan 2012, 14:42

Published: 06 Jan 2012 14:42 GMT+01:00

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Merkel “has great respect for Christian Wulff as a person and for Christian Wulff as president,” her spokesman Steffen Seibert said Friday, arguing that Wulff was addressing his scandal adequately. “She has great respect for the office he holds.”

Wulff, 52, publicly crossed swords with Germany's most powerful newspaper on Thursday, a day after he went on national television to address criticism that he had tried to prevent a story about his private 2008 loan from being published.

Wulff, who claimed in the television interview - watched by 11.5 million - people that he had just sought to delay its publication by a day, later refused to authorize the release of a telephone message he had left for the newspaper’s chief editor, saying it was a private matter for which he had apologised.

Opposition lawmakers from the Social Democrats (SPD) have waded in, calling for Merkel to put more direct pressure on Wulff.

"If Mrs Merkel is interested in putting an end to this sanctimonious spectacle, she should convince Christian Wulff to agree to the publication," SPD chief whip Thomas Oppermann said. "Only publication of the voicemail (message) can prove whether he lied or not."

And the president, whose role is ceremonial but carries moral authority, was further challenged Friday when a bank reportedly contradicted his account of when he took out a loan.

Merkel faced further bad news as she gears up for a diplomatic flurry of eurozone crisis talks next week, hosting French President Nicholas Sarkozy on Monday and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti on Wednesday.

An opinion poll Thursday by ARD-DeutschlandTrend revealed that support for the junior partner in her coalition, the Free Democratic Party, had slumped to just two percent – well below the five percent needed to enter parliament.

Another poll published Thursday by the ARD television network showed that 60 percent of those questioned favoured giving Wulff a second chance, although 61 percent also said they had not been convinced by his television appearance.

Wulff landed in hot water last month when Bild reported that he had concealed a home loan at an advantageous interest rate he accepted from the wife of a tycoon friend while premier of Lower Saxony state.

Wulff kept quiet when opposition state deputies asked him whether he had business ties to the tycoon or any firms connected with him.

Story continues below…

During the TV interview, Wulff apologised and admitted that he should have come clean about the loan earlier but insisted he will stay on in the job.

The Local/AFP/DAPD/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:55 January 6, 2012 by ovalle3.14
She also supported zu Googleberg, didn't she?
17:54 January 6, 2012 by Englishted
She backs so many lame ducks ,it make one question her judgement .
19:02 January 6, 2012 by nemo999
This endorsement is the Kiss of Death
23:05 January 6, 2012 by Bomo
Well, he certainly was not chosen for his charismatic leadership or astute judgement of handling a self-imposed crisis. Who said politics in Germany was boring - Deutschland sucht den Superstar...oder!
13:06 January 7, 2012 by jmclewis
Angie take your new bf and retire!
23:02 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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