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Merkel under pressure in president scandal

The Local · 8 Jan 2012, 14:50

Published: 08 Jan 2012 10:07 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Jan 2012 14:50 GMT+01:00

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Around 300 demonstrators waved shoes in front of the president’s official residence in Berlin on Saturday, in a protest modelled on of those in the Arab world, where waving shoes is a sign of disrespect and anger.

As new revelations emerge almost daily about Wulff, a member of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), a senior member of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD) sought to shift the heat onto Merkel.

The SPD's parliamentary group leader former foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, noted that Merkel had pushed through Wulff's election to the largely ceremonial post in 2010.

"She cannot just act as if she has nothing to do with this whole affair and as if the federal president is in a different political sphere," Steinmeier told Sunday's edition of the Tagesspiegel.

And the SPD general, Andrea Nahles, told the Bild am Sonntag weekly: "If Wulff resigns, then there should be new elections ... the Wulff affair is also a Merkel affair."

"Christian Wulff is not up to the office of federal president. Staying in office, no matter what happens? That behaviour is not acceptable ... I have serious doubts that he will survive this affair," added Nahles.

The scandal broke in December when the mass circulation Bild reported that Wulff had failed to declare a €500,000 loan he had obtained from the wife of a wealthy tycoon while he was the Lower Saxony state premier.

On learning the story was about to break, Wulff called the paper’s editor, leaving a furious voicemail message, and also called chief executive of the paper's publisher Springer.

According to the Der Spiegel news weekly, Wulff asked to discuss the story on his return from an official trip "and then we can decide how we see things and then we can decide how we should wage war."

Wulff failed to put the scandal to bed with a televised interview last week – his claim that he asked Bild to delay the story rather than stop it altogether was challenged by the paper.

As recently as Friday, Merkel's spokesman said she had "great esteem" for Wulff both as a person and as a president, but the scandal is an increasingly unwelcome distraction as she seeks to focus on the eurozone debt crisis.

Top government officials scrambled to deny reports over the weekend that talks had taken place over a possible successor to Wulff.

Story continues below…

However, as hundreds protested outside the official presidential residence in Berlin over the weekend and polls on Sunday showing Germans believed he had lost credibility, Wulff himself reportedly sought to shrug off the scandal.

"In a year, this will all be forgotten," he told staff members, according to the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:26 January 8, 2012 by raandy
The fact that he said this will all be forgotten in a year, shows his contempt fot his constituants. The low interest loan from a friend is one thing ,making threats to the editor and using the power of his office to do so is another matter entirely.

I say goodbye Mr. Wulff.
15:04 January 8, 2012 by mos101392
What is it with the Germans and condemning someone to the fires of Hell for farting wrong...So Mr Wolf got a low interest loan from a friend....BIG DEAL! It was a private matter. I've loaned people money before and that was my business. If you have a problem with that, go out and find your own friends and ask for loans. I don't feel sorry for the banks..they make enough money. And what is the fuss with Mr Guttenburg? So he exagerated a bit...again...BIG DEAL! I wonder if these same whining Germans would have done the same amount of complaining when it really matter back in 1938. I have a message to the whiners....get a life!!!
15:54 January 8, 2012 by storymann
Come on, we need to try and clean up politics not encourage it by turning a blind eye. Only the less concerned would deem otherwise.
16:44 January 8, 2012 by puisoh
Correction Mr Wulff :

In a year, you and your presence on the chair of President will be forgotten. Whatever Merkel offers in a few days' time, take it and try a comeback in 2 years and if you continue to make a fool yourself, then you know what will happen, you are a politician.
17:59 January 8, 2012 by danceswithgoats
I am not sure which concerns me more: Wulff and his corruption or German protesters copying Arab cultural mores.
23:01 January 8, 2012 by oiitsme

talking about copying Arabic cultural mores. I had to laugh when I saw the picture above. Arabs take off the shoes that they are wearing to show anger and disrespect, since the shoes are dirty.

It seems from the picture above that these protesters have brought an extra clean pair with them, just for the sake of demonstrating.
07:11 January 9, 2012 by frankiep
There is so much stupid in this story that it is hard to keep up.

First of all, the SPD claiming that Wulff's private financial matters are the responsibility of Merkel is complete nonsense. That would be like saying that Sarrazin's racism and xenophobia which he published is indicative of how SPD leadership thinks. Nonsense.

Then the legion of semi-professional protestors waving their shoes around as if this is the Middle East and Wulff has been going around imprisoning and murdering his opponents. I wonder if they realise just how ridiculous they look.
11:06 January 9, 2012 by mos101392
@ frankiep

Again...I say these people have no lives. They are probably all on German welfare and have nothing better to do. Why don't they all go to Tehran or Syria and wave their shoes at those leaders who I'm sure actually deserve the insults. While driving on the autobahn, I know that giving a German my middle finger is not the same as waving my open hand in front of my face to signal their stupidity...so the same is true for waving a shoe at a non Arab. But then again, Germans are known for protesting the dumbest things...maybe if I stand on my balcony and fart loud enough, I might draw a demonstration :O)....Lets see if this doesn't get deleted!
12:15 January 9, 2012 by shahislam
Merkel may note this.


It's an chance for Dumb politicians of religions to increase production and sell oil for cheaper prices through one on one cash dealings in the black market and global public will be benefited too. Forget about war. Million of dollars costing bombs and war machines, at the expense of financial sufferings of millions of Western public, have absolutely failed to kill just a single head such as Gaddafi's, or Bin Laden's or Saddam's in recent past. Nuclear threat is the same; effectively nothing more than a propaganda only to create fears for the idiots by the more idiots as dumb heads. Koreas, Pakistanis, Indians etc. make Nuke

stuffs and the public suffers from poverty.

There will be never ever be any real shortage of fuel for energy on earth; it's the production limitatation against demand and imposed by Billionaires in control of oil business industry, OPEC, Arab leagues etc.

The Mullahs as Iranian heads have recently got their heads totally malfunctioning by the support of some hedgehog-type newly become bouncing 'oil money rich unscrupulous businessmen' of Western origins from many parts of the world that include China, Russia, Switzerland, India, Saudi-Arabia, Brazil, Venezuella etc. These blind fools would be better off, by being friendly with America and with the flow of popular wishes of interconnected global young generation. God is now with humanitarian minded honest guys, therefore, no power can defeat humanitarian: America or United Notrh-America as long as under the leader-ship and adviser of totally honest and unselfish Honorable Mr. Barack Obama.
20:32 January 9, 2012 by Maddi70

That's not the point I think. If you have a company and get a loan cheaper than the market price than it shall be taxed in accordance to the laws cause you used your position to get the money cheaper (at least an assumption by law). So you could say he used his position (networking) to get cheaper money. Fine to me then tax it. I think that's more a point of equality.

I agree with you in general that have nothing better to do than blaming other but I think that he should be a role model.
22:42 January 12, 2012 by mos101392

"So you could say he used his position (networking) to get cheaper money"

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.I f 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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