Wulff Against Popular Election of President

MUNICH. Christian Wulff, the ruling conservative-liberal coalition's candidate for German head of state in the June 30 parliamentary election, has reiterated his opposition to a popular election for the post. "A popular election would give rise to expectations of power and influence which the head of state could not fulfill," Wulff told the Hamburger Abendblatt. Under German law, the president is chosen on the basis of proportional representation by the Federal Convention, a body consisting of Bundestag members as well as an equal number of members elected by state parliaments. Former President Horst Köhler, who unexpectedly resigned last week, had repeatedly called for a change in legislation to allow a direct vote.

According to a poll of German citizens published in the latest issue of Stern magazine, Wulff trails the opposition Social Democrat and Green parties' candidate, Joachim Gauck, by a full 10 percent. Other candidates in the election are Luc Jochimsen, a former television journalist nominated this week by the Left party, the successor of the ruling party of the former GDR, and singer-songwriter Frank Rennicke of the ultra-nationalist National-democratic Party of Germany.


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