Germany's Joschka Fischer scotches comeback talk

17th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer ruled out on Sunday a return to politics after speculation he might run for chancellor for the resurgent Greens in 2013.

"I am honoured that people would think I am capable of it," the charismatic and popular Fischer, 63, told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. "A return to politics by Joschka Fischer is ruled out."

The former 1960s Maoist radical and taxi driver was foreign minister and deputy chancellor between 1998 and 2005 when his Green party was junior coalition partner to Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD).

He led strongly pacifist Germany into the first military action since 1945 in Kosovo in 1999 but opposed the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, famously telling US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld "Excuse me, I am not convinced."

He quit parliament in 2006 to take up a guest chair at Princeton University in the United States, and has since been hired as a political adviser on Europe's flagship Nabucco gas pipeline project.

The Greens have enjoyed a strong surge in support in recent state elections and polls have indicated that the Greens and the SPD could return to power nationally, and this time with the ecologists as senior partner.

But the Greens lack a stand-out chancellor candidate, prompting speculation that the five-times-married Fischer might return.

A poll in the Bild am Sonntag ranked him as the party's best candidate, albeit with just a one-point lead over his nearest rival, former environment minister Juergen Trittin.

© 2011 AFP

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