Parties battle it out over German president’s post

4th March 2004, Comments 0 comments

4 March 2004 , BERLIN - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder announced Thursday that his Social Democrat-Greens coalition will nominate political scientist Gesine Schwan as its candidate for the country's next president. Schwan, 60, is currently president of the European University in Frankfurt/Oder, on the German-Polish border, with Schroeder noting that she had been particularly active in promoting ties between Germany and Poland. Schroeder's announcement came while the opposition camp, the Christian Demo

4 March 2004

BERLIN - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder announced Thursday that his Social Democrat-Greens coalition will nominate political scientist Gesine Schwan as its candidate for the country's next president.

Schwan, 60, is currently president of the European University in Frankfurt/Oder, on the German-Polish border, with Schroeder noting that she had been particularly active in promoting ties between Germany and Poland.

Schroeder's announcement came while the opposition camp, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Free Democrats (FDP) agreed on Horst Koehler, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, as their joint candidate.

In his remarks, Schroeder praised Koehler's expertise, and noted that he himself had been the one to propose Koehler to head the IMF.

Germany's Federal Assembly meets on 23 May to elect a successor to President Johannes Rau, a Social Democrat, who decided not to run for re-election for the largely ceremonial post.

Schwan, born 22 May 1943 in Berlin, studied at the French high school in the city and then at the Free University of Berlin and at Freiburg University. She has been a member of the SPD since 1972.

Thursday's final choice by the CDU/CSU and FDP capped weeks of speculation and two days of marathon negotiations involving the CDU/CSU and FDP.

Koehler, 61, is only second-choice for the CDU and CSU. On Tuesday, the two parties had agreed on veteran CDU politician Wolfgang Schaeuble, but the FDP remained firmly opposed. The three parties then spent all day Wednesday searching for a new candidate.

The decision means Koehler will almost certainly be elected. The CDU, CSU and FDP, although in the opposition in the federal German parliament, hold a majority in the Federal Assembly, which elects the president.

DPA
Subject: German news

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