German President Christian Wulff has announced he will resign from office. The 52-year-old had been under fire for months in a scandal over money, power and political favours.
Analysts believe the move was prompted after state prosecutors in Hannover asked parliament to end his immunity over the allegations he accepted favours.
“The developments of the past few days and weeks have shown that the German people’s trust and thus my effectiveness have been seriously damaged,” he told a press conference.
He was appointed to the largely-ceremonial post two years ago and backed by Angela Merkel and his resignation is seen as a blow to the Chancellor. She says she will work with opposition parties now to find a consensus candidate.
“We want to hold talks with the aim in this situation to propose a common candidate for the election of the next president of the Federal Republic of Germany,” explained the Chancellor.
It is the first time that prosecutors have wanted to investigate the incumbent of Bellevue Castle, the president’s residency.
Analysts believe the resignation reflects badly on Merkel’s judgement as she forcefully pushed for Wulff’s election against a strong opposition candidate who was reportedly backed by most Germans.