German MPs back human rights activist to be next president


Sigmar Gabriel, Social Democrats + Joachim Gauck + Angela Merkel, Christian Democrats
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Germany’s government and the two major opposition parties have said they will jointly nominate Joachim Gauck, a human rights activist originally from East Germany, to be the country’s next president.

Angela Merkel said her coalition government, and the centre-left opposition had rallied behind Gauck, 72, who was initially proposed by the opposition Social Democrats and Greens.

He is not a member of a political party.

“What moves me the most, is that a man who was still born during the gloomy, dark war, who grew up and lived 50 years in a dictatorship … is now called to become the head of state,” Gauck said. “This is of course a very special day in my life.”

Christian Wulff, 52, resigned as president on Friday after two months of allegations about receiving loans on favourable terms and hotel stays from friends when he was state governor of Lower Saxony. He was Merkel’s candidate when elected less than two years ago…

When Wulff resigned, Merkel immediately said she would work with the Social Democrats and Greens to find a consensus candidate to succeed him…

The chancellor said that clergymen such as Gauck – a former Lutheran priest – were at the forefront of the protests that eventually brought down the east German regime.

Claudia Roth, the Greens’ leader, said “Gauck will restore the respect for the office, will restore dignity,” to the presidency, which had become tainted by Wulff’s actions.

Isn’t it interesting how a nation which parallels so many of our circumstances in the United States figures out how to take different directions, grow and even prosper in hard times.

Now, a discredited politicians leaves office. The leftwing opposition proposes a replacement. The conservative government accepts he would be the best solution for country – and that’s what counts.

Anyone even imagine this happening in the United States with the clown show we have in Congress?

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