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President 'can be called liar', loses public favour

The Local · 28 Jan 2012, 10:23

Published: 28 Jan 2012 10:23 GMT+01:00

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Lower Saxony public prosecutor Irene Silinger ruled on Friday that calling Wulff a liar could not be considered defamatory, but should be regarded as part of the debate over his involvement in what has become known as the "loan and media affair".

Leader of the Greens in the Lower Saxony state parliament Stefan Wenzel called Wulff a liar and called for him to resign following a debate on his conduct while state premier there.

“Wulff is a liar and he should resign before he pulls law and order and decorum further into the dirt,” said Wenzel. Three official complaints that this was slander and defamation were dismissed by Silinger, who said the comments were part of Wenzel’s right to free expression.

Wulff’s conduct while he was state premier of Lower Saxony is being increasingly scrutinised, particularly since police raided the home of his former spokesman Olaf Glaeseker, the man regarded as Wulff’s closest advisor, searching for evidence of corruption.

The latest poll on Wulff’s popularity shows 50 percent of Germans want him to resign – up from 44 percent who said so at the start of January. Those who want him to stay in office accounted for 45 percent asked in the survey conducted by television network ZDF and the Tagesspiegel daily newspaper. A further five percent said they did not know what he should do.

Opposition Social Democrat leader Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Wulff and his refusal to resign was damaging Germany’s image.

“Germany is considered in many countries an example in terms of clean politics and the independence of its decision-makers,” he said in this week’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

“The debate over Wulff certainly takes something away from Germany’s nimbus.”

He said the president’s job was largely to give the country moral orientation, and Wulff must be happy that he can still do that. “It will be a long way for Christian Wulff to win back the moral authority that he needs for that,” said Steinmeier. “If he stays on the unsafe ground of his answers until now, then that way is too long.”

When asked in the same paper how much future Wulff had, Merkel said, “Our federal president will make many more important points for our country and our communal life.”

Further details of the Lower Saxony’s state involvement in the annual Nord-Süd-Dialog business lobby event emerged this week, showing the government was more heavily involved as previously thought. And the Die Zeit weekly paper said that the NordLB bank which was majority owned by the state had sponsored the even in 2007 and 2008.

Glaeseker, Wulff's advisor and spokesman for the Lower Saxony government, was closely connected to Manfred Schmidt who organised the lobby meeting, and had accepted free holidays in Schmidt’s homes.

Wulff fired Glaeseker shortly before Christmas without publicly giving a reason, after years of working closely together.

Although no criminal allegations have been made against Wulff, investigations are continuing into Glaeseker's activities.

Story continues below…

It is now more than six weeks since the start of the row over €500,000 Wulff, then Lower Saxony state premier, borrowed from the wife of a businessman friend and failed to publish. The businessman Egon Geerkens then accompanied Wulff on three official trips, it has been reported.

Wulff subsequently transferred the loan to a bank with which he had dealings, and made angry phone calls to newspaper editors about the publish the story.

DAPD/DPA/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:36 January 28, 2012 by storymann
I am surprised Mr. Wulff has stayed this long. It's time to vacate the office and take the controversy with him.
09:15 January 29, 2012 by McM
I recall an children's story about the little boy who cried wolf all the time and the village people would all storm out looking for the big bad wolf . The little boy kept this up for quite awhile until none of the people took any notice at his cries of wolf. One day whilst out playing he met a real wolf and cried out ,it's the wolf it's the wolf. Sadly, no one took any notice and he was eaten by the wolf.

The little boy reminds me a lot of the German media frenzy and its unique witch hunt culture.What will happen when a real threat arises , will we all be too sceptical to take any notice or too busy participating in wolf hunts to do anything about it?

And then there was the story of Peter and the Wolf but we won't go there !
09:37 January 29, 2012 by murka
"President Christian Wulff can be called a liar, a state prosecutor has ruled".

Alright.. khm.. khm...

President Christian Wulff is a liar.
12:28 January 29, 2012 by mos101392

I totally agree. All this fuss about this man is politically motivated. I'm sure all the whiners stand to gain more if he leaves his office. They all act as if he should be drawn then quartered.

Guess what everyone, I've taken and received private loans and could care less what anyone thinks. The banks have enough money and if not, they get bailed out. If I borrow money or lend "MY" money to a friend, it's my business not yours...even if I was President! PERIOD!

So let it go and find another reason to whine... and by the way...get a life!
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