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Berliner brief

The Bundespräsident fiasco

By Tom Levine   April 2004

Germany’s presidential mess

British monarchists can take heart from the mess that the Federal Republic has recently got into over electing a new head of state – ending up, it seems, with the third choice candidate.

The story so far. Back in February the current Bundespräsident Johannes Rau called it a day after realising that the political configuration of the federal convention (assembled specifically for the purpose of electing or re-electing the president every five years) was not going to give him a second term.

Rau, an old SPD stalwart with a gravelly voice, is a more self-righteous, intellectual…

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