German president’s resignation hits eurozone crisis talks
German president Christian Wulff tendered his resignation today, forcing chancellor Angela Merkel to postpone a meeting with Italian prime minister Mario Monti aimed at dealing with Europe’s ongoing sovereign debt crisis.
Wulff’s resignation came after prosecutors in Hannover moved to strip him of parliamentary immunity in regards to an investigation into political favours handed out when he held the previous position of state premier of Lower Saxony.
“At a time when Merkel is trying to solve the crisis enveloping the single currency bloc, the last thing she needs is the distraction of a presidential resignation and a potentially divisive search for a replacement,” wrote news service Reuters.
added Bloomberg: “Merkel is now forced to devote her attention to lobbying for support for a fresh candidate among the 1,240-member Federal Assembly of lawmakers and state delegates that elects the president, having lost ground after regional election defeats throughout 2011 that she and other party officials blamed on the crisis.”
“The chancellor may struggle to push through a favored candidate compared with June 2010, when it unexpectedly took three votes in the Federal Assembly to elect Wulff. The chancellor’s majority in the assembly has since narrowed to as little as two seats from 21 seats at the last vote, according to electoral website wahlrecht.de.”
In an ironic twist on today’s need to postpone Merkel’s visit to Italy, it turns out that Wulff himself spent the earlier part of this week visiting his counterpart there, Italian president Giorgio Napolitano.