'Yes, we Gauck' -- Merkel's Waterloo?

style="float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; font-weight: 600;"Mon 24th Oct, 2011

MUNICH. Germany's favorite boulevard newspaper, the Berlin-based Bild, set the tone for a rare show of unity among the country's media with its Sunday headline borrowed from Barack Obama's now legendary presidential campaign.

The arch-conservative tabloid's support for Protestant pastor Joachim Gauck, nominated for the post of German president by the opposition socialist and green parties for a parliamentary election to be held June 30, bodes ill for the political future of Chancellor Merkel and the ruling conservative-liberal coalition. "When was the last time that both Spiegel and Bild praised the same candidate?", asks Hamburg's Stern while relegating the coalition's candidate, Lower Saxony's Minister President Christian Wulff, to the status of "sunnyboy". Indeed: in today's edition, the left-leaning magazine's cover story heralds Gauck as "the better president".

The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung goes a step further, hailing Gauck as "an ideal president". All this prompts Munich's Sueddeutsche Zeitung to see Merkel's chancellorship "seriously in danger" should Wulff's bid for the president's office fail. Coming at a time when the government plans to introduce severe austerity measures, the controversy promises to dominate the headlines throughout the month.


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