By B. John Zavrel
The German President Horst Köhler in Berlin on May 31, 2010 at the announcement of his immediate resignation from office. On this unusual day in the Castle Bellevue, his wife Eva Luise appeared at his side. Now she has to give up the priveleges of a "First Lady" and the living in the 'Presidential Palace'. From now on, she will be able to lead her own household, just like millions of 'normal German housewives". Hardly one of them had access to the events 'for the high society people' held at the Bellevue Castle during the time of Koehler's days in office.
Berlin/New York (bpb) The German President Horst Köhler has surprisingly announced on May 31, 2010 his 'immediate resignation'. This is the first such case in the Federal Republic of Germany. As reason for his resignation he gave the criticism by politicians and citizens regarding his public comments regarding the participation of German Army in the US-led war on Afghanistan.
Horst Köhler was born on February 22, 1943 in Skierbieszow, Poland. After Adolf Hitler, he was the ninth elected German President. Köhler started his office of the head of state on July 1, 2004. But unfortunately, he was not taken seriously by the German population. One of the reasons given by the media was that "He was the most colorless German president ever". Obviously, he will not be missed after his resignation. A diplomat said to the news about his resignation: "Mr. Nobody left his office".
For the United States, a strong ally of Germany, a colorless German President is totally unimportant. He has mostly only ceremonial duties. Political decisions are always made by the German government and the political parties leading the government.
Chancellor Merkel is disappointed
The German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared shocked by the news of the resignation of Horst Koehler. She was able to hide well her disappointment, anger and outrage due to the fact that 'her President' informed her about this political bombshell only at the last minute. Still during the public criticism by all the political parties of Kohler's resignation, the Chancellor Merkel started on stabilizing the situation. The time is pressing, since a new President must by elected in 30 days.
And so Merkel praised Kohler's good qualities, brought into discussion various party members as possible candidates, and also started talks with the coalition partner FDP, with the view to present a joint candidate: the present Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, Christian Wulff.
A German President, as part of the Government of Chancellor Merkel, must according to political observers, 'fit". He cannot overwhadow the Chancellor by his intelligence and popularity. These were the principles that Merkel used in 2004, as she convinced her party friends to select the outsider Horst Koehler. This politically inexperienced man from the banking sector (he was from 2000 to 2004 Chairman of the International Monetary Fund) was never accepted as 'German President' by the population. His new colleagues and advisors had just as little idea about 'the business of politics' in the presidential office as the new "boss" himself.
Köhler as sore loser"
The German President Köhler left the highest German office as a 'sore loser', was heard from his critics. He had never grown into his office, and escaped from the responsibilites. Köhler himself said that he was not shown enough respect as president. The response was that in a democracy, also the President must be able to handle criticism.
For many years, Köhler was a target for the jokes of comedians. One of the great imitators of Köhler and his "creator" Angela Merkel is the comedian Mathias Richling. When he appears in the role of either of these two characters, the whole country is laughing.
Horst Köhler can do whatever he wants, but still he will remain the scarecrow. THe political elite in Germany feels itself to be more or less "betrayed" by him, since he, in the final analysis, harmed the democratic process. This will be considered a bigger sin for him than the inability to deliver a convincing and effective speech. In the coming criticism of Köhler, also Chancellor Merikel will have to take part, since according to the opinion of critics, she is partly to blame for this political disaster with Köhler.
With Merkel's present choice for the candidate, Christian Wulff would be, if elected, a politician in the spotlight who would draw attention: he would be the first German President who is divorced. A divorced man in this high office does not reflect the traditional moral values of most German citizens. And the concerned Germans fear that due to a premature change of presidents, the road leads toward a 'Banana Republic'. WIth this, Germany would become like Italy in its political situation.
© PROMETHEUS 156/2010
PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin - News, Politics, Art and Science. Nr. 156, June 2010