Christian Wulff Elected New German President


From SpiegelChristian Wulff, Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s candidate for the post of president, won a third and final round of voting in the Federal Assembly on Wednesday but his failure in the first two rounds is likely to have done her lasting damage.

The election was billed as a test of her authority and rebels in her center-right coalition dealt her a stinging blow by refusing to hand Wulff the absolute majority he needed to win in the first two votes in a tense afternoon that will overshadow the rest of Merkel’s term.

In the third round, Wulff only required a simple majority. But in the end, he won an absolute majority of 625 votes — a result that voters had withheld all afternoon. Wulff’s rival for the presidency, Joachim Gauck, a popular former civil rights activist from eastern Germany, got 494 votes. …

Merkel needed Wulff to win to underscore her leadership following a steep decline in her popularity since her re-election last September due to acrimonious rifts in her coalition, criticism of her handling of the euro crisis and anger at an €80 billion ($97 billion) austerity program that even some members of her own party regard as socially unjust.  (photo: AP)

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