Germany’s current President Horst Koehler remains favourite to win re-election today — but only by the tightest of margins.
Yesterday Koehler, who was alongside his fellow Christian Democrat Chancellor Angela Merkel, helped kick off celebrations for Germany’s 60th anniversary of its constitution. Seeking another 5 year term in office, he said Germany could not risk ignoring the country’s economic and social divisions. Koehler’s main challenger is academic and political economist Gesine Schwan of the Social Democrats. The run up to the election has seen both rivals criticise each other on a range of issues, particularly management of the financial crisis. Schan sparked controversy earlier this month after she declined to refer to communist East Germany as a state based on injustice. The third candidate is hardline socialist Peter Sodann. However, the former cop from a popular TV series stands little chance of success. The election, which always falls on the same day as the birth of the country’s constitution, is decided by a secret ballot of parliamentarians and other public figures from the Federal Assembly. Last night, a giant light show was held at the Reichstag building in Berlin to mark the 60th anniversary.