In Germany the president’s role is mainly a ceremonial one, but from time to time he’s expected to step in and provide the country with some direction.
Former President Christian Wulff used his soapbox to promote integration of Germany's Muslims. Others have expounded on various aspects of German society.
But some conservative politicians – particularly in the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) – have said Gauck’s personal situation makes him an odd choice to be a moral authority figure.
In fact, Gauck has been separated from his legal wife for years, but has been living with his partner Daniela Schadt since 2000.
The arrangement raised the hackles of prominent CSU Bundestag member Norbert Geis who called on Gauck to “arrange his personal affairs as quickly as possible.”
Others, including Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, have defended the likely president’s personal life, saying they’re nobody’s business. So far, Gauck has refused to comment on the matter.
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