President Wulff hanging by a thread

Published on 3 January 2012 at 12:20


The net is tightening on Germany’s Federal President. Propelled into office against the wishes of public opinion by Angela Merkel in 2010, the very discreet Christian Wulff may be about to step down at short notice. So predicts business daily Handelsblatt in a report entitled "The shrinking president."

Since mid-December, Wulff has been mired in a scandal over a 2008 personal loan for 500,000 euros from a German businessman who also paid for a holiday. Now he has been accused of attempting to undermine freedom of the press. Having learned that Bild was to publish revelations about his dealings, the President called the tabloid’s editor, as well as other national dailies, threatening legal action and a “war” between the presidency and certain media outlets.

For the German press, the phone calls are testament to the Wulff’s inability to act as the guardian of the country’s moral conscience, which is the only role specifically attributed to the Federal President which is a largely ceremonial position. "He never was a great president," argues Handelsblatt, which reports that members of the ruling majority have now joined their opposition colleagues in calling for his resignation.

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