German internal politics are quite entertaining for the last few days, weeks and months. After we sacked our minister of defense last year for cheating on his thesis, this year we had to get rid of our federal president Christian Wulff because he had also too many skeletons in his closet. Mainly from his time as prime minister of Niedersachsen (or “lower saxony” as to say in English) when he tend to have too intensive relationships with local entrepreneurs and therefore some goodies like free stays in first class hotels or getting his book promoted or good loan conditions to purchase a house and some minor things. Although the press and the opposition went rough on him for weeks he stayed tacked to his position and first let go as public prosecutors applied for the abolishment of his immunity. That would have been the first time in german post war history to happen and must have been the point where Angela Merkel told him finally to do the right thing.
Hard to find a replacement because Wulff also was a fill-in. His forerunner Horst Köhler stepped back after he got criticized for political statements regarding foreign assignments of the Bundeswehr. Usually the federal president is elected for a period of 5 years and we already used 2 of them since 2009 (That is not quite correct regarding that Köhler already had finished one period from 04 to 09, but I just count from his reelection). We are kind of running out on them because there aren’t that many respectable, honorable, well suited, elderly men to use for the job. At that time it came in handy to recommend the guy who lost the last vote (three times to be concrete) against Wulff – Joachim Gauck. And he was available. He isn’t voted yet but as far as I’m informed the only serious candidate. And some of the conservatives are already picking stones to throw at him because
- he is separated from his wife without getting divorced for about 20 years
- he lives with another woman for about 10 years without being married (of course not because that would have made him a bigamist)
The most urgent question for the conservatives so far is how he should represent Germany without an appropriate relationship to show? Will he live with his concubine in honorable Schloss Bellevue? How should this woman be presented to other head of states?
Here is my recommendation. Besides the all-time favorite happily married with kids relationships there is a female chancellor married with no kids, a gay foreign minister in a relationship with no kids and several ministers without any information about their family status or sexual orientation or private life so far. Those are all life concepts you find in an open society so why shouldn’t they be reflected in government as well. And just for the sake of these conservative, religiously stamped guys in Bavaria get him divorced and take him.