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New president 'could be found by Wednesday'

The Local · 18 Feb 2012, 12:54

Published: 18 Feb 2012 12:54 GMT+01:00

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Chancellor Angela Merkel briefly met the leaders of her coalition parties just hours later, and again on Saturday for two hours.

Her conservative Christian Democratic Union has a clear majority with sister party the Christian Social Union and the Free Democrats in the Federal Convention which elects presidents.

But Merkel said on Friday she would be looking for a candidate who could appeal to all parties, and specifically said she would be talking with the main opposition parties.

The Social Democratic Party and the Green Party said on Saturday they were confident of finding an acceptable candidate very quickly – probably even by Wednesday, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported. They and the government parties are set to meet on Sunday for talks.

A major commemoration is planned in Berlin for Thursday for the ten victims of a neo-Nazi gang which toured the country killing eight Turkish and one Greek man, as well as a policewoman. Merkel is expected to speak, but it is thought efforts will be made for a new president to be present.

All parties have said they would want a candidate from outside the ranks of the political parties. Although the government parties have not gone public with their preferences, the SPD and Greens have made it known they would favour the former east German pastor and civil rights campaigner Joachim Gauck.

“He remains our favourite,” SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel told Deutschlandfunk radio on Saturday. Gauck was the first keeper of the East German secret service Stasi files after reunification and is widely respected.

The 72-year-old appeared in public in Koblenz on Friday evening – to from his new book – but refused to make any comment about the presidency.

He was a candidate last time around, but Merkel pushed through Wulff instead.

A criminal investigation was formally launched on Saturday into Wulff’s potentially corrupt relationship with filmmaker David Groenewold.

Wulff’s immunity from such investigation formally ended at the weekend after he resigned on Friday following months of pressure about his time as state premier of Lower Saxony.

Story continues below…

Wulff will most likely receive the honorary presidential pension of €199,000 a year, it was said on Saturday, although there is some concern about whether he resigned for political or for personal reasons. The pension is only due to those who leave for political reasons.

The Local/DPA/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:47 February 18, 2012 by pepsionice
Expected to be a homeless guy, who doesn't have a bank account, hasn't traveled outside of Germany in forty years, and not more than six people will profess they actually know the guy.
16:04 February 18, 2012 by Simon_Kellett
> All parties have said they would want a candidate from outside the ranks of the political parties.

Yep: they gave up the hunt for an honest politian so are now looking elsewhere !
16:13 February 18, 2012 by vonSchwerin
Considering that he was almost selected last time, I wonder if Gauck is now thinking, "I told you so!"
18:31 February 18, 2012 by McM
Perhaps the Germans should let the EU parliment appoint the next BP.

Seeing as they can't manage it themselves without self implosion and the distabilizing crisis of such an important member state.

An outside appointment in the same spirit that it was suggested the Greeks should have an outside budget contoller to run their finances .


Better go and walk the dog!
19:28 February 18, 2012 by derExDeutsche
just as long as he's not elected and looks good in a NWO Black suit, he'll fit right in.
21:01 February 18, 2012 by MaKo
Rumor has it zu Guttenberg is looking to get back into politics at the national level...
22:41 February 18, 2012 by McM
Well Guttenberg certainly is experienced in a manner suitable for this position.

Press hounding, victimization,witch hunting, wears nice suits , denial ,can take a pie with a sense of humor ,and, I hear he is already working for the EU now.

No, only kidding, we need a non German EU appointed scapegoat.

19:46 February 19, 2012 by Englishted
Thomas Gottschalk seems a good idea to me .
22:52 February 19, 2012 by Grumpy Old Man
Come on The Local, where's the news about Gauck? You seem to be the last to publish it.
08:00 February 20, 2012 by mos101392
I am curious if the new President had anything to do with the forces that led to Mr. Wulff's eventual resignation. Just curious!
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