Ger­man Pres­i­dent won’t seek a 2nd term

Merkel’s dilemma

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

BER­LIN—Ger­many’s head of state, 76-year-old Pres­i­dent Joachim Gauck, said Mon­day he won’t seek a sec­ond term in 2017 due to his age, a move that could cause com­pli­ca­tions for Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel head­ing into an elec­tion year.

Gauck told re­porters at his of­fice in Ber­lin he would com­plete his five-year term but didn’t feel he was up to an­other be­cause “the years be­tween 77 and 82 are dif­fer­ent than those that I’m in right now.”

“Un­til the end of my term, I will se­ri­ously and hap­pily ful­fill my du­ties,” he said.

Fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment, Merkel said she had been hop­ing Gauck would stay for a sec­ond term but that “I re­spect the de­ci­sion of the pres­i­dent.”

A new pres­i­dent will be cho­sen in Fe­bru­ary, an awk­ward time for Merkel who faces na­tional elec­tions later in 2017. With no ob­vi­ous suc­ces­sor for Gauck, the search for a candidate seems likely to be com­pli­cated as fac­tions in Merkel’s coali­tion govern­ment seek their own nom­i­nee.

There are al­ready ques­tions over whether her Chris­tian Demo­cratic Union and Bavar­ian-only sis­ter party Chris­tian So­cial Union will be able to agree upon a joint candidate, and many see the sit­u­a­tion as a test of Merkel’s au­thor­ity.

Some names be­ing men­tioned in­clude Merkel’s Fi­nance Min­is­ter Wolf­gang Schaeu­ble, or For­eign Min­is­ter Frank-Wal­ter Stein­meier, who is a mem­ber of Merkel’s coali­tion part­ner So­cial Democrats.

Merkel said she would hold broad dis­cus­sions about a suc­ces­sor to Gauck be­yond her CDU-CSU party cir­cle but was not more spe­cific.—AP

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