Thursday, July 1, 2010

Christian Wulff Elected New German President

Angela Merkel's government avoided disaster on Wednesday when their candidate Christian Wulff was elected German president after a third round of voting. The day of drama will, however, have inflicted lasting damage on Merkel and could spell the beginning of the end of her coalition.

Christian 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.

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