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This evening, German President Christian Wulff will appear on television, answering questions from Germany’s two main state broadcasters, ARD and ZDF.”The chancellor is expecting him to explain himself,” Angela Merkel’s deputy spokesman said today.
Wulff certainly has some explaining to do. In December, the German tabloid Bild reported that Wulf had lied to a regional parliament in 2010 when he said he had no business ties to an entrepreneur, Egon Geerkens, with whom he had spent his 2009 Christmas vacation.
In fact, Wulf had received a 500,000 euro ($648,800) loan from the businessman’s wife previously at a rate below the usual bank rate.
Wulf at first scrambled to say that the loan wasn’t for business reasons — it was a personal loan to help buy a house.
However, behind the scenes, his tactics were more sinister. This week it emerged that he had threatened the editor of Bild, Kai Diekmann, that there would be “war” if the article was published, and threatening “judicial consequences” and warning publisher Axel Springer with a “definitive breach” in relations.
In many ways the cover up has turned out to be worse than the crime. Now newspapers such as FT Deutschland are calling on him to resign, and he’s being roundly criticised by all wings of the press.
The popular tabloid Bild had long been supportive of Wulff, even when he left his wife for another woman. But now it seems to be open season on the German president.
The scandal is bad news for Angela Merkel, who had nominated her ally Wulff for the role, and perhaps even worse, for the office of President itself. The largely ceremonial office is often seen as protector of the constitution, but it has had two Presidents resign in the past two years.
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