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Friday, February 17, 2012 9:28 AM


German President Resigns; Major Embarrassment to Chancellor Merkel


The German presidency is little more than a symbolic position, nonetheless, the announcement by German President Christian Wulff that he will resign is a major embarrassment to German Chancellor Angela Merkel who hand-picked Wulff as president.

Spiegel Online reports Wulff Announces He Will Step Down

German President Christian Wulff resigned from office after prosecutors stated a day earlier they would seek to have parliament lift his immunity. Prosecutors wanted his immunity revoked so they could formally investigate allegations he accepted favors during his tenure as governor of the state of Lower Saxony. At the center of the probe are allegations that a film producer had paid for a vacation in a luxury hotel for Wulff during his time in office in the state.

Speaking nearly a half hour after Wulff's resignation, German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared before reporters to say she had received Wulff's resignation with "great respect and deep regret." The chancellor also noted that the development underscored the strength of the German legal system because it showed that all people are treated equally, regardless of their position.

Merkel said her coalition government would approach all political parties in an effort to find a "joint candidate" to replace Wulff.

The development is likely to cause embarrassment because Wulff is the second president after Horst Köhler to step down during her term. The chancellor handpicked Wulff to run as Köhler's successor after his sudden resignation in 2010. Even after his selection, Wulff was weakened going into the presidency because it took three rounds of voting in the Federal Assembly before he was ultimately elected.
Financial Times reports that Merkel cancelled a meeting scheduled with prime minister Mario Monti in Rome on Friday in the wake of the announcement by Wulff.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
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