Merkel coalition meets to tap new German president

Last Updated: Sunday, February 19, 2012 - 00:42

Berlin: The parties in Chancellor Angela Merkel`s coalition government met today to find a candidate to
replace German president Christian Wulff, the day after he
resigned over a corruption probe.

Merkel had talks with Horst Seehofer, head of the
Bavarian sister party of her Christian Democratic Union, and
Philipp Roesler of junior coalition partner the Free
Democrats, as well as leaders of the parliamentary groups of
all three parties.

No name emerged from the talks, which lasted only two
hours, much shorter than expected, a source close to the
government said, adding that this was "a very good sign."
Merkel said yesterday she wanted a candidate who was also
backed by opposition parties.

A member of the CDU and Merkel`s hand-picked choice as
head of state in 2010, Wulff, 52, had endured a barrage of
negative media coverage since December largely over his links
with wealthy businessmen.

He stepped down yesterday after prosecutors sought the
lifting of his legal immunity to probe allegations he had
enjoyed favours from a film producer friend.

Merkel, who cancelled a trip to Rome yesterday for
eurozone crisis talks with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti,
said she would first speak to government parties and then the
opposition to find a replacement.

Among possible successors to Wulff, a favourite is former
pastor and East German dissident Joachim Gauck, who was the
main opposition candidate in 2010.


First Published: Sunday, February 19, 2012 - 00:42

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