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Former East German rights activist to become German President

"A genuine democrat",who could give strength to the cause of solving the euro zone debt crisis,says Merkel.

Written by Agencies | Berlin |
February 20, 2012 3:01:22 pm

Former East German civil rights activist and protestant pastor Joachim Gauck has been nominated as a consensus candidate to become Germany’s next president,two days after the resignation of Christian Wulff over allegations of corruption.

Chancellor Angela Merkel last night nominated Gauck as the joint candidate of her centre-right coalition and the two main opposition parties for the largely ceremonial post.

Gauck had lost the presidential race as the opposition candidate against Wulff 20 months ago.

A joint nomination by the main political parties will ensure that Gauck,who has no political affiliations,will get a resounding victory when the Federal Assembly,the electoral college comprised of members of the federal parliament and state legislatures,elects the 11th president on March 18.

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Presenting Germany’s future president to the media together with the leaders of the main political parties,Chancellor Merkel spoke of Gauck as a genuine democrat”,who could give important impulse to globalisation,solving the euro zone debt crisis and for more democracy.

Merkel said she greatly admired his central ideas of freedom and responsibility.

Gauck,72,has a strong record of promoting freedom and civil rights and he was one of the driving forces behind the peaceful revolution in former East Germany,which contributed to the collapse of the communist dictatorship.

After the German reunification,he became the Federal Commissioner for Stasi Archives and played a key role in investigating the crimes committed by the East German secret police.

It is a great honour to be nominated for the post of the president unanimously by all main parties,Gauck said accepting the nomination.

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