Berlin: Christian Wulff, was sworn in as Germany`s 10th President on Friday, two days after he was elected
in an embarrassing third round of voting by the electoral
college of federal and state parliamentarians.
He took the oath of office at a brief ceremony in
Bundestag, lower house of parliament, in presence of former
President Horst Kohler, whose unexpected resignation a month
ago, led to the election of a new President.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, her cabinet and members of both
chambers of German parliament were also present.
Wulff, who at 51 is the youngest president in Germany`s
history, said in his address that integration of immigrants
into mainstream society will be his top priority.
He warned against discriminating foreigners and said
immigrants and their children should get same opportunities as
the native population for education and to find jobs.
He referred to his initiatives in this area during his
six-year term as the prime minister of the state of Lower
Saxony and pointed out that earlier this year he took a Muslim
of Turkish origin as a member of his cabinet for the first
time in Germany at the state or national level.
Wulff said he wanted to "build bridges between young and
old, people from the East and the West, immigrants and native
Germans, employers, employees and the jobless and people with
and without handicaps."
Referring to global financial crisis he said those
responsible for it should be made accountable and financial
markets should be brought under more stringent regulations.
That can be achieved only through European and
international cooperation, but that is very complex, he said.
Wulff, who Merkel`s conservative-liberal coalition`s
candidate, failed to secure absolute majority in Wednesday`s
first two rounds of voting even though coalition partners had
a comfortable majority in electoral college made up of 622
members of the Bundestag and an equal number of
parliamentarians from state legislatures.
In a display of anger and discontent with the performance
of the nine-month-old coalition government and lack of
confidence in Merkel`s leadership, 44 deputies of the
conservative-liberal coalition either abstained or voted for
the opposition candidate Joachim Gauck, a civil rights
activist and theologian in former East Germany.
However, in third round voting, the rebels joined ranks
and cast their votes for Wulff, enabling him to seal his
victory with an absolute majority.
Wulff polled 625 votes in the 1242-member assembly, two
votes more than the minimum required for an absolute majority.
His main rival, Gauck, candidate of opposition Social
Democratic Party (SPD) and Green Party polled 494 votes.
The left Party, which fielded former TV female journalist
Lukrezia Jochimsen, pulled out of the contest in the third
round and abstained from the voting, indirectly supporting the
election of Wulff.