LNC73D48Wg201dLjeNZNf-jmBts BroUbanBlog: Germany's president resigns after string of scandals

Friday, 17 February 2012

Germany's president resigns after string of scandals

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Germany needs "a president that enjoys the trust of not only a majority, but a broad majority of citizens," said a sombre Wulff, with his wife Bettina at his side.
"The developments of the last days and weeks have shown that this trust and therefore my effectiveness have been damaged.
"For this reason, it is no longer possible to carry out the office of president both domestically and abroad the way it needs to be done," added the head of state.
"I have made mistakes, but I was always honest," he said.
Wulff is from the same conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party as Merkel who cancelled a planned trip to Rome to meet Italian premier Mario Monti on the euro crisis to make her own statement later.
Wulff's role is largely ceremonial but carries important moral weight and the announcement by the prosecutor in Hanover, the capital of Lower Saxony, marks the first time the German parliament has been asked to lift presidential immunity.
The 52-year-old president has been rocked by scandals and allegations since mid-December largely over his connections to wealthy businessmen, initially over an advantageous home loan from a friend's wife.
He then faced claims he tried to hush up the story, as well as reports of free holidays accepted from friends.
But the Hanover prosecutor's case focuses on his relationship with film producer friend David Groenewold who is also facing investigation over dealings between his firm and Lower Saxony while Wulff was state premier.
He also reportedly picked up the bill for Wulff's hotel during a short holiday in 2007. Wulff's lawyers have said he repaid the money in cash later.
"It's over now, Christian Wulff must resign," demanded the influential Bild daily in a Friday editorial.
Wulff landed in hot water in December when Bild reported he had failed to declare a 500,000-euro (S$828,000) home loan at an advantageous interest rate he accepted in 2008 while premier of Lower Saxony.
He then left an angry voicemail for the paper's editor-in-chief over the story and publicly crossed swords with him over claims he had tried to hush up the article's publication.

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