Former dissident lands German presidency
Germany's politicians and media gave a near-universal welcome to the nomination of the renowned former East German dissident Joachim Gauck for the post of President yesterday, hailing him as a moral authority to be reckoned with.
The 72-year-old former regime critic, who has been called "Germany's answer to Nelson Mandela", was selected for the largely ceremonial post by leaders of the country's main political parties – ending a presidential crisis that had dragged on since December.
Mr Gauck, right, a former Protestant pastor who became the head of reunified Germany's vast Stasi secret police archive, will replace his predecessor, Christian Wulff, who was forced to resign last Friday over a corruption scandal. Mr Wulff, 42, stands accused of accepting favours from entrepreneurs and attempting to muzzle the press. Germany's mass-circulation Bild newspaper described Mr Gauck as someone who "personally and politically" embodied all the qualities needed for the job.
"A good president should have clear values and defend them courageously," the paper wrote. "He should also be a figure who integrates East and West. Mr Gauck represents all that."
Mr Gauck, pictured, was born in 1940 in the East German port city of Rostock. His father, a merchant seaman, was arrested by the Communist authorities and dispatched to a Siberian gulag for suspected dissident activities. Mr Gauck said he knew East Germany was unjust from the age of nine.
He campaigned vigorously for the presidency in 2010, but Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted at the time her conservative political protégé, Mr Wulff, should be given the job. Ms Merkel is fully backing Mr Gauck this time.
- 1 Keira Knightley topless: Conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 2 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 3 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 It's not just the savagery of Isis that is shocking – its weaponry is too
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
Sir Paul McCartney makes his stance on Scottish independence known
PM sets out tough new anti-terror measures in response to heightened threat
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
£30000 - £33000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior SQL DBA...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Web Develop...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...
Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...